Symptoms + Exposition by Avani Palkhiwala
watercolor and ink
18 x 24 inches
year created: 2021
“The Wonder Women 12 residency, my collective of all female artists, with its truly open and frank dialogue about health, shaped my first intimately personal piece. An abstract self-portrait, I reflect on my decade-long journey to create and sustain new life and regain my own health. This piece represents the second in this series, a figurative self-portrait that catalogs my symptoms alongside the responses from medical professionals over the years. It represents the next stage in my journey transitioning from a private artist to an advocate for women’s issues.”
Artist’s Connection to Theme: As a very private individual, coming from an immigrant culture that leans heavily towards secrecy, creating work about myself is challenging. With the pandemic and a sharp decline in health, I stepped back and evaluated how I got to this place mentally and physically, and accepted the toll it’s taken. In discussing health stories with other female artists from across the country, for the first time I have felt part of an artistic community and more in touch with womanhood in general. Through sharing my experiences, I have found that an invisible weight has been lifted, one that doesn’t need to be carried in silence and shame.
Image Description: A self-portrait exploring the artist's symptoms and the corresponding advice given by medical professionals.
New Jersey based artist and maker, Avani Palkhiwala, has been working in numerous mediums since 2000. From a young age, stories of imaginary worlds provided both escape and inspiration. With a digital portfolio that encompasses many forms of storytelling including illustration, animation, and games; narratives have always resonated with Avani. The tales of women from varied and complex backgrounds can be seen in her pastel portraits. Falling outside of simple classification, degrees in Fine Arts and Computer Science reveal a keen interest in both the traditions of the past and emerging technologies, most significantly the creative potential that sits at their intersection. A fascination with reinterpreting objects and ideas emerged during her graduate work at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP). From changing the way time is displayed, via a mechanized lotus that opens over the course of a day, to engaging users of all ages to explore binary numbers through playing with a large-scale interactive interface. She continues to investigate emerging technologies alongside traditional artmaking techniques to create work that reimagines storytelling and education. Her piece, A Mandala of This Confounding & Extraordinary Body, a narrative self-portrait, made during a residency with Wonder Women 12: Health, will be shown this fall at New Jersey City University.
Frame: 22x28, art 18x24 with mat, black frame 2” thick.
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