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Viraj Mithani is currently working with a mix of painting and print making
Viraj Mithani, 28 Artist
When Viraj Mithani, 28, told his parents that he wanted to be an artist, his businessman father was not too happy about it. “He had anticipated I would join his business,” he says, adding that he found support in his mother and aunt. After all, the only tenuous link that his family has had with the arts is his grandfather—“He was a photographer and artist, but did not exhibit his works and did them just for himself”—and his grandfather’s brother, who went to Mumbai’s JJ School of Art. “Every now and then, my father would sort of push [for Mithani to join the business]… but finally he has become more comfortable with it.”
And there is reason enough for it. Mithani, who is currently pursuing a master’s course at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in the US, studied at the University of the Arts, London, and graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) in 2015, alongside having several group and solo exhibitions across the US, London, Sweden and Mumbai. In addition, he has taught at the SAIC and the Chicago Public Library.
“Although I have grown up with a traditional background in painting, print was introduced to me as an undergraduate, and currently I am working with a mix of painting and print making. I work with layering,” says Mithani. “Sculpture is also something that is part of my work in subtle ways, but I do see myself moving in that direction as well. I use wood, 3D printing and fibre glass as part of my sculptures.”
“Our faculty recruited Viraj knowing and honouring that he occupied a singularly prescient vantage point as technologies and cultures collide,” says Angela Dufresne, graduate programme director and associate professor, RISD. “Teetering between tradition and mediated experiences is not always easy to metabolise and reflect back upon. Viraj does a courageous and rigorous job of reflecting the complexity of the globalisation’s disoriented syndromes where contradictory forms barrage our every thought and gaze.”