<br>Fashion designer Anamika Khanna’s son, Viraj, who was always involved in the financial and management aspect of the family business, and whose body of work now includes sculptures, textiles, mixed-media paintings, and NFTs recently presented his personal experiences through 2D modern forms of art and dived into the country’s rich handloom to encourage viewers to think about their lives, ideologies and behaviour during Chivas Glassware Alchemy’s ‘Kaleidoscope of Time’ in Mumbai.
Looking back, Khanna feels that the pandemic kept him happy himself more than he used to be. While adding that when he is practicing art, there is much self-time and a need to introspect and think about one’s own life, he says, "It has made me deep dive into the things that I really enjoy in life more than just flowing with it. Art gives me much more perspective as a human being as to the things that I want to do in the future."
Still deeply involved in fashion, for Khanna, striking a ‘balance’ between the two is not a complicated stitch.
"It all depends on the need of the day. Sometimes, there is so much design required in terms of the fashion aspect of my life, and I am more involved in that. I keep switching and moving between the two worlds. However, both constantly merge into each other. So many figures that I make with my art, go on to the clothing, and much of the clothing is also moving into my art."
Considering he works a lot with textiles nowadays, the artist takes the different techniques that have been used over generations by the ‘kaarigars’ in Bengal and gives them a contemporary spin, moving them into art.
"So there’s always a back-and-forth happening in my practice."
While he may have entered the art world without any formal education, he now wants to apply at top colleges for formal education. While a lot of people do not really encourage him to go for a course, he thinks differently.
"Right now, since I have no education, I am just doing whatever I feel like in exploring every single medium that I want to. Of course, there is much ‘freedom’, however, there is a feeling that I will eventually reach a point where I want to learn the techniques, acquaint myself with art history, and make a deeper dive into my practice."
In fact, at the Chivas platform, he showcased how his art journey started with the collages, which formed the blueprint of his practice, going to different mediums which he keeps exploring as he gets into textiles.
"You can also see how textile comes from that collage and the sculptures that I make. There is a sculpture that I made as the centerpiece of the installation, which almost prompts the viewer to ask — ‘what comes next’?"
Smiling that his mother and brother would ask him to tear off work if they did not like something he made, Khanna says he would get critical feedback from them in terms of the design aesthetic.
"Initially they kept telling me what to do, but it has stopped now. I do not think I rely on any of that anymore. I just do what I feel like because as an artist you need to keep making what you like and keep growing," he concludes.
(Sukant Deepak can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)