MANIK RAJ NAKRA
"When they entered, they found hanging upon the wall a splendid portrait of their master as they had last seen him, in all the wonder of his exquisite youth and beauty. Lying on the floor was a dead man, in evening dress, with a knife in his heart. He was withered, wrinkled, and loathsome of visage. It was not till they had examined the rings that they recognized who it was."
The paintings, drawings, and installations of Manik Raj Nakra take on the possibility of addressing the ancient world as his own. A world where four headed leopards perch on old world ruins and silver teethed monkeys pray for our salvation. With imagery consisting of teeming tropical jungles, exotic Asiatic animals, mythical kings, and ancient architecture, Nakra’s work applies a contemporary lens onto post-colonial anachronisms, Indian iconography, artifacts from early civilizations, and religious myths and folklore in order to explore themes such as egoism, lust, and self-doubt. These themes, handled with wild colors, stark compositions, and "pop" sensibilities, illuminate the historically rooted, but contemporarily relevant narratives, paranoia, and dreams of his time and place.
Manik is a 33-year-old artist living, working and eating late night Thai food in Austin, Texas.