Interview with the participating artists: Pradeep Mishra

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E-mail interviews were conducted with the ten artists featured in the exhibition Home Again—10 Artists Who Have Experienced Japan.

Against a backdrop of vibrant red, Pradeep Mishra paints such diverse subject matter as children, plants and animals, and guns and farming tools, all of which are expressions of “life” as manifested in mutual co-existence or connectedness.

These interviews were conducted by Arts Initiative Tokyo (AIT).

PRADEEP MISHRA India, b. 1977
Based in Munbai, India, Mishra received an MFA from the Sir J.J. School of Art in Mumbai. During his residency in 2010, his motifs included animals at the zoo or embalmed animals at museums. He creates vibrantly colored figurative paintings that depict plants, animals and people who serve or sacrifice their lives for the sake of others. As embodiments of “life” in various forms, these works, when displayed, are often accompanied by a living plant or soil.

Q1: In Tokyo you made a series of animal portraits in painting – can you tell me something about this series? How did it begin?

The work made during my residency was a continuation of my earlier works, which was about the presence of an individual being in our life, in relation to how we share each other’s space no matter what form, color, behavior etc. one carries.

Q2: For the Hara exhibition we will show some flags with animal symbols on them – for you animals have a special meaning? What does the crane or dragon fly symbolize, if anything?

The aim is to share the belief which an individual being carries. Humans have evolved by observing, learning, adapting and sharing what they feel is good for existence.

Q3: In some of your previous installations you use dried leaves in the gallery space. I have a sense that you try to show human life in relation to wider contexts of the natural or animal worlds – is this correct?

Yes that’s how I started my thoughts for my work process & in this process a stage came when two opposites stood together: “life” & “death”. These two forms kept bothering me on how they shape each other…

Q4: When you paint an animal or bird do you give it some emotional character?

My aim is to bring life in the “form” of a painting, no matter in what style or medium it gets delivered.

Q5: You also paint babies, military tools, and sometime plants in your work. Are they also related to the reason why you paint animals?

For me they are living forms, and we communicate by exploring each other’s presence.