Jitish Kallat. Artist-Citizen

Jitish Kallat in his Mumbai studio, ca. 2013.
Artist sitting in studio with sculptures and paintings in the background
Jitish Kallat in his Mumbai studio, ca. 2013. Photo by Abhinit Khanna. Courtesy of Jitish Kallat Studio.

Ideas find their own forms. It’s a process that artist Jitish Kallat yields to rather than predetermines.1 Though he studied painting, earning his BFA from the Sir J. J. School of Art in Mumbai in 1996, his inquiries into the world around him generate a wide variety of media including sculpture, photography, video, and installation by way of acrylic, mist, dental plaster, roti (flatbread), fruit, and vendor food from the streets of Mumbai. He is an artist-citizen, poetically chronicling everyday urban life. “To me,” he explained, “almost every one of us is a raconteur of the world’s secrets, because each one of us possesses a unique world view.”2 In Kallat’s work, mundane encounters are expansive. The intersection of political and personal histories—like treaties, historical speeches, violent and non-violent activism, and familial ancestry—suggests that the meaning of one’s life stretches beyond the individual.

  1. Jitish Kallat, “Jitish Kallat on His Practice and Works,” lecture at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney, posted July 7, 2016, video, 59:56 minutes, available at youtube.com/watch?v=1drZuHsR3ro. ↩︎

  2. Jitish Kallat, in conversation with Nina Miall, Jitish Kallat: Universal Recipient (London: Haunch of Venison, 2008), 53. ↩︎