Artist T. Venkanna confronts the stereotypical ways that define and contrive sexuality, which has become the dominant preoccupation of his practice. He often focuses on a sexual fantasy to create an escape from the suffocating norms of society via the simple act of day-dreaming. While doing so, he rediscovers certain motifs borrowed from artists like Hockney, Rousseau, and Mondrian, along with specific forms of traditional art. He then goes on to subvert each work, contextualizing a historic visual within the contemporary political discourse.
Venkanna’s practice imbibes a wide range of media, including drawing, painting, sculpture, installation, and performance. His linguistic device is formed by integrating the personal, social, and ultimately the political. For instance, his solo, ‘Looking for Peace’ (2017), explored death in a time of war, where for Venkanna, the remnants of tragedy persist long after the violence ceases.
Born in 1980 at Gajwel, Venkanna holds a M.F.A. in printmaking from the Faculty of Fine Arts, M.S. University of Baroda and a B.F.A. in painting from J.N.T.U, Hyderabad, where he was awarded the Gold Medal. He has exhibited his works extensively, including the Sharjah Art Museum, UAE; Galerie Krinzinger Projekte, Vienna, Austria; National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai; Kochi-Muziris Biennale, Kochi; Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, Noida; Lalit Kala Academy, Chennai; Prague Biennale 5, Czech Republic; and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, Mumbai. In 2010, his work was a part of ‘Finding India: Art for the New Century’ at Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Taipei, Taiwan.
Venkanna lives and works in Baroda, India.