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Reena Saini Kallat on art that challenges borders and notions of nationhood

Artist Reena Saini Kallat’s work looks at social and political borders by bringing the focus on manmade barriers and symbols of nationality.

February 20, 2021 / 07:56 AM IST

For Reena Saini Kallat, art has been a means of inquiry as well as a tool for expressing personal and collective concerns. As one of India’s most notable artists, her works span drawing, photography, sculpture and videos that largely dwell on the fluidity of borders and the futility in drawing boundaries when nature itself is boundless.

Reena’s journey into art began out of a sense of loss. She lost her mother to cancer early on in life. “I never thought of art as a profession, but a way of existence that’s as natural as breathing,” she narrates.

As a child, Reena collected magazine clippings and books on art. These introduced her to the lives and thoughts of artists. She was keen on a career in medicine, hoping to find a cure for cancer, but her father recognised her talent and urged her to pursue her interest in art.

Hyphenated Lives (2015 – 2016) is a re-imagining of fantastical mutations within the natural world, where the national animals, birds and flowers of different countries symbolically get combined Hyphenated Lives (2015 – 2016) is a re-imagining of fantastical mutations within the natural world, where the national animals, birds and flowers of different countries symbolically get combined