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Gargi Raina

Indian Contemporary Artist
Born 1961, New Delhi
Lives and works in New Delhi

Gargi Raina is a contemporary artist who is concerned with the connection between the physical and the ethereal. Using gouache and dry pastel on paper and wood, she creates a sequence or a pattern of objects and images that represent her idea of stretching time - emphasizing and reflecting on the changing time and society.



Master of Fine Arts, Faculty of Fine Arts, Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, Vadodara, Gujarat


Bachelor of Fine Arts, The College of Arts, New Delhi

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Raina's oeuvre reflects the connection between the physical and the ethereal

The concept behind Raina's works is that essential interrelation between the physical and the ethereal, the commonplace and the cosmic. 'Creating a sequence of object and images, her work follows a narrative, linear in the way it reads but elastic in the way that is cognitive and analytical. "I've been working with the idea of stretching time. It's like seeing something in slow motion or looking at one thing and stretching that time, being able to go backwards and forwards and doing it at a very, very slow pace. I think that has been very crucial to a lot of the work that I have been doing recently", she states.

Gargi Raina, View from Zenana - Exterior, 2001, pencil and gouache on paper pasted on board, 29.5 x 35.5"

She works with a vast repertoire of mediums

Raina works with several mediums, primarily with gouache, dry pastel and acrylic on paper and wood, and multiple images and mixed media installations to represent a sequence. For example, in her mixed media work titled Excavating the Mirror Neuron (Ayeneh-Kari) Day/Night, she has pasted tiny mirrors within geometrical forms or patterns on paper. This work was her way to, pay homage to ayeneh-kari - a reference to mirror work that is done to decorate walls of mosques in Tehran.

Gargi Raina, Summer Without A Daughter, 2014, gouache, mixed media on paper, 72 x 48"

She stands apart for not being a pure abstractionist

Raina's works are interludes between pure abstraction and literalism in a way that the gravest linear diagrams could find a counterpart in reality. Her double-edged abstract works revel in the interface between colours in an infite grading of tones and a sensuality of textures that attract the viewer's eye. The objects and images, repeated with an almost mesmeric intensity, are taken from the repertoire of the domestic, though the essential equation arises out of their necessary persistence in our lives. A transformation occurs as eye travels from frame to frame, with certain symbols emerging as a basis of collective memory, myths of creation and origin unfolding with movement in time or with action being performed.

Gargi Raina, Hujoom (Design), 2010, gouache and dry pastel on paper, 43.5 x 68"

She believes art should reflect on our time and society

Gargi Raina is of the view that an artist's role, in a diverse, fractured and complex society like ours is always under pressure to change and continue changing. Hence, the artist's role should primarily be a witness as well as to reflect on our time and society. According to her, in times of conflict, artists need to protect their freedom of expression and be alert. Raina's works based on her ancestral home in Lahore, Pakistan and video-stills and painting of her hometown in Kashmir are examples of how Raina has been a witness to the changing times.

Gargi Raina, Calm Waters Restless Homes, 2004, gouache and graphite on paper, 29 x 43" (each)