Adele H. Stamp Student Union - Center for Campus Life
Artist Statement

This piece started a journal of the month of April, a month in quarantine as I took online classes at home. It was inspired by the countless hours I spent on Zoom in my old high school bedroom, brushing my teeth in our old bathroom again, cohabitating with the cockroaches in my family’s garage/my temporary converted painting studio. But this piece took on a new meaning when, this Spring, for the first time in maybe six years, I had an Indian professor who pronounced my name correctly, with the full depth of the breathy bha in Nibha, shown by the bha (भ)  letter. I guess this painting turned into a chronicle of my relationship with my name and learning how to pronounce it correctly myself. I still can’t say it like my mother does, with the confident knowledge of the Hindi alphabet that I lack, but at least I can stop using a fake name when I make dinner reservations.


Nibha Akireddy, Bha:भ, 12” x 12”, oil on wood panel, 2020

This piece started a journal of the month of April, a month in quarantine as I took online classes at home. It was inspired by the countless hours I spent on Zoom in my old high school bedroom, brushing my teeth in our old bathroom again, cohabitating with the cockroaches in my family’s garage/my temporary converted painting studio. But this piece took on a new meaning when, this Spring, for the first time in maybe six years, I had an Indian professor who pronounced my name correctly, with the full depth of the breathy bha in Nibha, shown by the bha (भ)  letter. I guess this painting turned into a chronicle of my relationship with my name and learning how to pronounce it correctly myself. I still can’t say it like my mother does, with the confident knowledge of the Hindi alphabet that I lack, but at least I can stop using a fake name when I make dinner reservations.


Nibha Akireddy, Parachute Coconut Oil, 16” x 20”, oil on canvas panel, 2020


Nibha Akireddy, Dry Shampoo, 24” x 36”, oil on wood panel, 2020


Nibha Akireddy, Blue, diptych of two 12” x 12” pieces, oil on wood panel, 2020

This diptych is inspired by “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison. Carrying the novel into the world around me, all this historical hatred against Black people manifests itself as these grotesque white beauty standards that affect cultures across the world. A beauty standard is so superficial and can feel so individual but holds so much underlying hatred and anti-Blackness and repulsive sentiment within it. The eyes are pulled from side to side, bloodshot and stretched and frantic as they transition from dark brown to blue. The blue eyes are piercing in their artificial iciness, anything but beautiful.


Nibha Akireddy, Makhani, 36” x 36”, oil on wood, 2020

This work is inspired by Bhangra, by a community of dancers that has formed one of my strongest communities, and by the beauty of movement. There’s so much power in learning how to carry yourself, how to hold your limbs and your posture and move confidently on a stage and through the world. This piece is inspired by a dance form that has taught me grace and confidence and expression in ways I never thought it could.

 


Artist Biography

Nibha Akireddy is a student and painter based in California’s South Bay Area. Her works are guided by a love of her communities: her cultural communities, friends, artistic spheres, family, and the ways in which they all intersect. She is fascinated by tensions within the self, attempting to capture dynamic movement and thought in a 2-D plane. She recreates her life and the experiences that define her identity, using her artwork as a journal to depict the realities of her world beyond the exoticized symbols that the world, especially the art world, might use to categorize her and people who look like her. As she enters the contemporary art world, she wants to listen to artists asking the same questions that she is, about the role of the diasporic artist, about questioning the privileges and spheres she lives within, and about using her art to contribute to larger conversations.







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