Soghra Khurasani (b. 1983)
An artist and printmaker from Vadodara, Gujarat, Soghra Khurasani explores femininity and violence through the use of landscapes and the human body. She is widely considered to be one of the foremost printmakers in the country.
Khurasani was born in 1983 in Vishakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, to immigrant parents from Khorasan, Iran. She went on to obtain a bachelor’s degree in painting from Andhra University (2008) and a master’s in printmaking from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Maharaja Sayajirao University (2010).
She works with woodcut and etching to create prints that reflect on themes of claustrophobia and the feminine body. The colour red predominates her prints, especially through the recurring motif of red blood cells. Notable works include Braveheart (2009), a triptych where three human hearts are illustrated with meandering lines, bright red cells and veins that resemble cracks; and Tribute to Blood (2010), which recreated a triptych with cell-like shapes of varying sizes. Khurasani continued exploring the cell structure as a visual motif in works created from 2011–12. She also began depicting volcanoes as a metaphor to explore the theme of violence and emotion, as seen in works such as One Day It Will Come Out (2012) and Red Eruption (2012), which combined representations of erupting volcanoes and blood vessels.
Khurasani further explored her preoccupations with nature and the human body in her landscapes created from 2013–15, such as Lost in Red Valley (2014), Silent Fields (2014) and This Burning Land Belongs To You (2015), among others. These works invoke craters, valleys and fields of red flowers, which resemble wounds and cuts on the skin. The violence and pain of femininity are also a recurring concern in Khurasani’s works, explored using a bright red palette, volcanic eruptions and dystopian landscapes filled with red cell-like flowers.
Her works from 2018 onwards focus on the human body, especially the skin and scarring, represented through multi-hued landscapes. Backdrops of dark and pigmented grounds are populated with craters, dark shapes and purple, bruise-like interruptions, as seen in works such as the Skin series (2018), Shadows Under My Sky series (2020–21) and Fragile 1 and 2 (2021). Khurasani also works with new media, installation and video, notably I Want to Live (2014) — a tribute to the victim of the 2012 Delhi rape case — which is a video work that featured deep graves that were dug by Khurasani and her friends, which were then filled with wood logs and set alight.
She has exhibited her works in solo shows at Gitler & ______, New York (2018); Kalakriti Art Gallery, Hyderabad (2014); and TARQ, New Delhi (2013), as well as group shows in Kochi-Muziris Biennale (2012); Gallery Latitude 28 (2013); TARQ, Mumbai (2015); Shanghumugham Art Museum, Thiruvananthapuram (2019); and the India Art Fair (2018, 2019). She has also participated in the Lalit Kala Print Making Camp, Baroda (now Vadodara) (2012); the National Printmaking Camp, Sanskruti Bhavan, Goa (2015); KHOJ Kooshk Residency Exchange Program, Tehran and Delhi (2016); and Women’s Studio Workshop, Germany (2018). Khurasani received the National Academy Award from the Lalit Kala Akademi in 2015 and the Kala Sakshi Memorial Trust Award in 2009.
As of writing, the artist lives and works in Vadodara.
Nagree, Zeenat. “Soghra Khurasani.” Artforum, 2014. https://www.artforum.com/picks/soghra-khurasani-46831.
Pillai, Pooja. “The Red Earth.” The Indian Express, January 2, 2016. https://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/art-and-culture/the-red-earth/.
“Soghra Khurasani.” The Print: Matter in Matrix. Latitude 28. Accessed March 31, 2022. https://www.latitude28.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/The-Print-Matter-in-Matrix-Catalogue_compressed_compressed.pdf.
“Soghra Khurasani.” TARQ. Accessed March 31, 2022. https://www.tarq.in/artists/49-soghra-khurasani/biography/.
Talati-Parikh, Sitanshi. “Simmering Voices.” Verve, May 3, 2014. https://www.vervemagazine.in/arts-and-culture/soghra-khurasani.
Upadhyay, Shweta. “Fractured Intimacies.” ARTIndia 25, no. 2 (2021). https://www.tarq.in/usr/documents/press/download_url/272/2021_11_16-art-india-magazine.pdf.