Welcome to the Jungle
Vivid downtown mural by noted Austin artist will evoke ancient India — but with a twist
As part of a new collaboration between The Contemporary Austin and newly opened The Loren at Lady Bird Lake, a new mural will be commissioned from local Austin artist Manik Raj Nakra.
Nakra is a 2004 alumnus of the University of Texas at Austin, originally hailing from Olympia, Washington. He previously participated in The Contemporary Austin's 2019 Crit Group program and exhibition.
A press release describes his work as a contemporary application of "Indian iconography, colonial anachronisms, artifacts from early civilizations," and more. Many of his compositions feature jungle animals, textiles, and bold, flat colors that update the ancient, blocky shapes.
"These themes, handled with striking graphics, patterns, and stark compositions," the release says, "illuminate the historically rooted, but contemporarily relevant narratives regarding beauty, paranoia, revelation, and man’s existential relationship to nature."
Nakra will be developing his next piece alongside The Contemporary's head curator Alex Klein. Their plan is to commence painting in the fall, with an expected completion date by early December.
Furthermore, Nakra will be working with The Loren to display his art throughout their newly opened cafe.
Loren Hotels founder and CEO Stephen King said in a press release he knew immediately that he wanted to support local artists in the Austin community when the hotel opened in 2022. The hotel's partnership with The Contemporary Austin and Nakra is the hotel's latest venture in bringing that vision to life.
"Part of Austin’s charm is exemplified by how local artists can transform a blank wall into a masterpiece that can be enjoyed by visitors and locals from all walks of life," King said. "We wanted to be a part of what makes this neighborhood so special and look forward to continuing to support The Contemporary in their ongoing efforts to back artists and their works."
More information about the mural and The Contemporary Austin can be found at thecontemporaryaustin.org.