Big Medium presents Coffee Chat: Manik Raj Nakra
Coffee Chats feature leaders in the creative community sharing their personal and professional experiences to inspire others pursuing careers in art.
The paintings, drawings, and installations of Manik Raj Nakra take on the possibility of addressing the ancient world as his own. A world of teeming jungles where four headed leopards perch on old world ruins and silver teethed monkeys pray for our salvation. Nakra’s work applies a contemporary lens onto Indian iconography, colonial anachronisms, artifacts from early civilizations, and ceremonial folklore to explore themes such as egoism, lust, and self-sabotage. These themes, handled with wild colors, pattern, and stark compositions, illuminate the historically rooted, but contemporarily relevant narratives on power, beauty, paranoia, devotion, and revelation.
Inspired by the 1922 film, Nosferatu, one series Nakra has been focused on are "Vampire Paintings,” which recast jungle cats as vampires in a fable of the artist’s own making. Here we find passionate relevance between violence and lust. This series alludes to the overwhelming power of romantic influence and humanity’s fascination with immortality and the fragility of flesh.
His work has been included in numerous solo and group exhibitions throughout Texas and San Francisco, a member of the 2019 Crit Group program with The Contemporary in Austin, and a client list that includes Converse, Facebook, The LINE Hotel, Urban Outfitters amongst others.