Rohini Devasher has had an intriguing journey into art. Ten years ago, the painter and printmaker collaborated on a project with amateur astronomers in Delhi. What began as joint investigations, stories and conversations culminated into a chronicle of this almost obsessive group of people whose lives have been transformed by the night sky. A matter of perspective building and self-reflexivity for her, she became curious and increasingly conscious of the role of ‘observation,’ and ‘field’ or ‘site’ in her practice as the work took shape and form.
Recalling that time, Rohini, who works in a variety of media, including sound, print and video, shares, “My practice had engaged with the field both as a series of physical sites – skies, sea forts, observatories, telescopes, and so on – and also as a methodology, a space for an investigation that allows one to explore something unfamiliar. It presented an opportunity for one to decipher a multitude of relationships between the human and non-human.”
Rohini’s own work is a perfect combination of the empirical and the imagined. She did her BFA in painting from the College of Art, New Delhi, and received her MA in printmaking from the Winchester School of Art in the UK. If you ask her what connects her to art, she will share a diverse set of elements with you. For instance, she loves to dwell on nature as a construct, as a discipline, or time that acts as a catalyst for change, or the loss of empathy, wonder, hope and possibility.
Like every artist, the Mumbai-based 41-year-old has her signature style. She deep dives into realities like, what would it mean for a generation of children to grow up without the stars? Or, what is it like to be human? Her wall drawings are immersive, site-specific, temporary, and destroyable. What makes her work stand out is her penchant for precision and layering and how she adds naturality to every form.