Kushala Vora is a dreamer, community organizer and an interdisciplinary artist working in sculpture and drawing. Her practice is deeply influenced by the ecological and social landscape of Panchgani, India, where she grew up. She uses this acquired sensibility to counter the often dehumanizing effects of our global societal polarization. She does this by exploring materiality, dissemination of information in educational spaces, and the cultivation of habit.
Kushala received her Master of Fine Arts from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She holds a post-graduate diploma in Modern and Contemporary Indian Art History and Curatorial Studies from Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum in Mumbai and a Bachelor in Fine Arts from Tufts University/ The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Her work has been exhibited at Museum of Fine Arts, Nagoya, Japan; Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit; Mana Contemporary, Chicago; Harvard University, Cambridge; Chicago Artist Coalition among other places. She has been an artist-in-residence at Vermont Studio Center, ACRE Residency, Søndre Green Farm Norway, Chicago Artist Coalition and Anderson Ranch Art Center. She is the co-founder of Atmo – a reading + praxis forum.
I continue to breathe in a ‘post-colonial’ world – in the shadow of the multiple empires that came, went and exist. My material work manifests in sculpture and drawings under word plays such as, margin and marginalized, habit and habitat, eye and I, rule and ruled. Through my practice, I investigate calcified habits and the parasitic roots of power that exist in interactions with oneself, each other and the landscape that we occupy. I look intently and keenly on systems of standardization that are employed to exert control over time and space while simultaneously exposing the embodiment of these systems through the dissemination of information in early learning spaces.
My current body of work aims to challenge our development of perception through the learning of classification and naming. For instance, I was conditioned to think within the divided space of notebooks in 0.7 centimeter increments, and similarly I learned to function within fixed parameters set to continue the propagation of colonial thought. By actively bringing into my conscious memory the visual markers of power, I seek to unmake sets of micro-habit. I hope that my work will pave a path for reconciliation with our histories and a renewed relationship with the environment we occupy. This effort comes from a personal interest in understanding and breaking the conditioning associated with my own education by reevaluating my beliefs and habits.