Sonia Mehra Chawla is a visual artist and researcher based in New Delhi, India. Her artistic practice traverses notions of selfhood, nature, ecology, and sustainability. Chawla’s works span across several media like photography, painting, fine art printmaking, video and installation.

Born in Kolkata, West Bengal, India, Sonia Mehra Chawla received her Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts in 2001, and Masters Degree in Fine Arts in 2004 from College of Art, New Delhi, India. She is the recipient of prestigious awards such as the National Award for Painting, Lalit Kala Akademi, National Academy of Art, India in 2004 and National Scholarship, Ministry of Culture, India in 2004. Mehra Chawla received the Charles Wallace India Trust Award for Visual Arts 2014-2015, by British Council and Charles Wallace India Trust. She was a Charles Wallace scholar to the UK in 2014 for a research and studio based project on Photpolymer Gravure in fine art printmaking at London Print Studio in 2014.

Mehra Chawla has participated in significant projects at several International Museums such as Tate Modern (London), Essl Museum of Contemporary Art (Austria), Yinchuan Museum of Contemporary Art (China) Today Art Museum (China) and CSMVS Museum Mumbai (Formerly the Prince Of Wales Museum Of Western India). Chawla has participated in Community Art Projects at Khoj International Artists Organization, New Delhi from 2004 to 2007, and public art projects at ET4U Contemporary Visual Art Projects, Denmark in 2013. She was invited as an International artist and speaker for SCAD Define Art 2013 in Hong Kong, organized by SCAD Museum and SCAD University Hong Kong. Chawla has been a speaker and panellist at the Charles Wallace Awardees Presentation at British Council Mumbai, India in 2015, and Kala Ghoda Literature Festival, India curated by Ranjit Hoskote & Asad Lalljee in 2016.

Chawla’s solo projects include Critical Membrane, Exhibit 320, New Delhi, Scapelands, Exhibit 320, New Delhi in collaboration with British Council India and Charles Wallace India Trust in 2015, Scapelands, Tarq, Mumbai in 2015, The Embryonic Plant & Otherworlds, 10 Chancery Lane Gallery, Hongkong in 2013, Metamorphosing Female: Transition -Transfiguration, Beck & Eggeling International Fine Arts, Dusseldorf, Germany in 2011, and Urban-Biomorphic, Visual Arts Gallery, India Habitat Centre, NewDelh iin 2008.

Chawla’s Selected Group Participations and Projects include: ‘Critical Membrane’ at Yinchuan Biennale 2016, ‘For An Image Faster Than Light’, curated by Bose Krishnamachari, Museum of Contemporary Art, Yinchuan, ‘Ein Baum Ist Ein Baum Ist Ein Baum’ curated by Prof. Dr. Herwig Guratzch and Kirsten Nordahl, Beck & Eggeling International Fine Arts, Dusseldorf, Germany in 2015-2016, ‘The Wave Project’ curated by Klavs Weiss and Karen Havskov Jensen, ET4U Contemporary Visual Art Projects, Denmark, Scandinavia in 2013, ‘Spell of Spill: Utopia of Ecology’, curated by Veeranganakumari Solanki, Palette Art Gallery, New Delhi in 2013, ‘What Rules?’ curated by Deeksha Nath , Nature Morte, Berlin, Germany in 2012, ‘The Secret Life of Plants : Contemporaray perspectives from India, China and Iran’, curated by Maya Kovskaya, Exhibit 320, New Delhi in 2012, ‘India Awakens, Under the Banyan Tree’ curated by Alka Pande at ESSL Museum, Klosterneuberg, Austria in 2011, ‘Global/Local: Time and Space in Contemporary Indian Art’, curated by Stefan Wimmer, Henn Galerie, Munich and Beck and Eggeling International New Quarters, Dusseldorf in 2010, ‘Lo Real Maravilloso: Marvelous Reality’ curated by Sunil Mehra, Gallery Espace, New Delhi in 2009, ‘Re-Claim / Re-Cite / Re-Cycle’, curated by Bhavna Kakar, Galerie Bose Pacia in 2009, ‘Labyrinths Urban- Organic’, 1x1 Art Gallery, Dubai, UAE in 2009, ‘The Second Sex: India’, 10 Chancery Lane Gallery, Hongkong in 2008, ‘World One Minutes’, curated by Barbara Borčić and Dušan Dovč, Today Art Museum, Beijing, China in 2008, ‘Identity and Masquerade: Staging the Self’, multimedia project, directed by Anne Braybone, Tate Modern, London in 2006, ‘CC: Crossing Currents: Video Art & Cultural Identities, Indo-Dutch Video Art Exhibition’, curated by Yohan Pinajjpel, Lalit Kala Akademi in collaboration with Royal Netherlands Embassy and Mondriaan Foundation in 2004.

Chawla has participated in several International Art Fairs such as Sydney Contemporary 13, Carriageworks, Australia in 2013, and Art Basel, Hong Kong in 2013. She was a part of Project Stage Asia Pacific, the curated section of Art Stage Singapore in 2011. Chawla has participated in ART HK: Hongkong International Art Fair in 2009 and 2010, India Art Fair, New Delhi from 2013-2016, India Art Summit, New Delhi in 2011 & 2009, Art Cologne 2009, Germany, and SH Contemporary 08, Shanghai in 2008.

Published critiques include essays authored by Ranjit Hoskote, Dr Alka Pande, Dr (Prof.) Herwig Guratzch, Deeksha Nath, and Veeranganakumari Solanki.

Chawla is currently a visiting artist and researcher at M S Swaminathan Research Foundation India. Her ongoing project Critical membrane is an artistic enquiry into the dynamic, yet fragile depleting mangrove ecosystems of India. Some of her areas of research include mangrove biodiversity in India, conservation methodologies, wetland degradation, sustainable development of coastal communities, joint mangrove management in India, transgenic rice plants (containing mangrove genes), microbial activity and role of microbes in mangrove ecosystems, and coastal ecosystem health.


SONIA MEHRA CHAWLA
B: 1977, Kolkata, West Bengal

EDUCATION:
2004 Master of Fine Arts, (Painting), College of Art, New Delhi
2001 Bachelor of Fine Arts, (Painting), College of Art, New Delhi

SOLO EXHIBITIONS:

2016
“Critical Membrane” supported by M.S. Swami Nathan Research Foundation (MSSRF), advised by Ranjit Hoskote and Dr. Prof. M S Swami Nathan, Exhibit 320, New Delhi

“The Critical Membrane Project” For an Image, Faster Than Light Curated by Bose Krishnamachari, Yinchuan Biennale, China  
2015
“Scapelands”, in collaboration with British Council India and Charles Wallace India Trust, Exhibit 320, New Delhi

2013
“The Embryonic Plant and Otherworld’s”, 10 Chancery Lane Gallery, Hong Kong

2011-2012
“Metamorphosing Female: ‘Roots Emerge Upwards”, Palette Art Gallery, New Delhi

2011
“Metamorphosing Female: Transition –Transfiguration”, Beck & Eggeling, International Fine Arts, Dusseldorf, Germany

2008
“Urban Biomorphic”, Curated by Dr Alka Pande, Visual Arts Gallery, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi

GROUP EXHIBITIONS:

2014
 “Artchiving The Artists Perspective”, Curated by Ranjita Chaney Menezes, Exhibit 320, New Delhi.

2013
“The Wave Project”, Curated by Klavs Weiss and Karen Havskov Jensen, ET4U Contemporary Visual arts Projects, Vestjlland, Denmark, Scandinavia

“Spell of Spill: Utopia of Ecology” Curated by Veeranganakumari Solanki, Palette Art Gallery, New Delhi

2012
“The Secret Life of Plants” Curated by Maya Kovskaya, Exhibit 320, New Delhi

2011
“What Rules?’ Contemporary Perspectives”, Curated by Deeksha Nath, Galerie Nature Morte, Berlin, Germany

2010-2011
“India Awakens, Under the Banyan Tree: Recent Positions in Contemporary Indian Art”, Essl Museum, Kunst der Gegenwart,Museum of Contemporary Art, Klosterneuberg, Vienna, Austria

2010
“Global/ Local: Time and Space in Contemporary Indian Art”, Henn Galerie, Munich, Germany, in collaboration with Beck & Eggeling International Fine Arts, Germany

2009
“Lo Real Maravilloso: Marvelous Reality” Curated by Sunil Mehra, Gallery Espace and Lalit Kala Akademi Galleries, New Delhi

“Re-Claim / Re-Cite / Re-Cycle”, curated by Bhavna Kakar, Bose Pacia, Kolkata & New York
“Labyrinths Urban-Organic: EmergingPerspectives in Contemporary Indian Art”, 1x1 Art Gallery, Dubai, UAE

2008
“The Second Sex: India”, Woman artist exhibition based on the writings of Simone De Beauvoir, 10 Chancery Lane Gallery, Hong Kong

“World One Minutes”, Curated by Barbara Borcic and Dusan Dovc, Today Art Museum, Beijing China

2007
“Identity and Masquerade: Staging the Self”, Multimedia project, Directed by Anne Braybone, Tate Modern, London

2004
“CC: Crossing Currents: Video Art & Cultural Identities”, Curated by Yohan Pinajjpel, Lalit Kala Akademy, New Delhi, in collaboration with the Royal Netherland Embassy

ART FAIR PRESENTATIONS:

2014
India Art Fair, Palette Art Gallery, New Delhi
Art Chennai, Exhibit 320, New Delhi.

2013
Sydney Contemporary, Carriage works, Sydney, Australia, 10 Chancery Lane Gallery, Hong Kong

2012
Art Chennai, Latitude 28, New Delhi
India Art Fair, Palette Art Gallery, New Delhi

2011
Project Stage Asia Pacific, Curated section of Art Stage Singapore, Seven Art Limited, New Delhi

2009
Art Cologne, Cologne, Germany
India Art Summit, Beck & Eggeling, Germany and Latitude 28, New Delhi
Art Hong Kong, Beck & Eggeling, Germany

2008
SH Contemporary, Shanghai, China
SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY AND PRESS

2015
‘Scapelands’, Exhibit 320, New Delhi, in collaboration with British Council India and Charles Wallace India Trust. Lead essay by Ranjit Hoskote. Collateral event of the India Art Fair

2013
The Embryonic Plant and Other worlds, Essays by Katie de Tilly, Veeranganakumari Solanki & Deeksha Nath. Published by 10 Chancery Lane Gallery, Hong Kong on the occasion of the artists’ solo project.

2011
Metamorphosing Female: Roots Emerge Upwards published on the occasion of the artists’ solo project, by Palette Art Gallery, New Delhi, Essay by Deeksha Nath

Metamorphosing Female: Transition-Transfiguration, published on the occasion of the artists’ solo project, by Galerie Beck & Eggeling, Dusseldorf, Germany, Essays by Katja Ott & Gerard Goodrow Publisher: Beck & Eggeling Kunsterverlag

2010
India Awakens: Under the Banyan Tree, published, on the occasion of the comprehensive exhibition project ‘India Awakens’, by Kunst der Gegenwart ESSL Museum, Klosterneuberg, Austria. Texts by Karlheinz Essl, Alka Pande, Anna Szoke, Mridula Koshy, Jyoti Pande Lavakare. Published by Essl Museum, Austria Printed in Vienna, Austria

Indian Art: The New International Sensation, a comprehensive survey of Contemporary Indian Art, by Dr.Alka Pande. Published by Manjul Publications, India
The Khoj Book of Contemporary Indian Art published by Khoj International Artists Organization, New Delhi (Interview by the artist) Publisher: Harper Collins, India

2009
Lo Real Maravilloso: Marvelous Reality, published on the occasion of the Marvelous Reality Exhibition, Projects, and Cultural Festival, by Gallery Espace, New Delhi. Lead essay by Sunil Mehra

RESIDENCIES AND AWARDS:

2014
Artist-In-Residence, London Print Studio,
London, United Kingdom

Charles Wallace India Trust Award for Visual Arts (2014-15) Charles Wallace India Trust and British Council India.

2013
The Wave and Art Epicenter, International contemporary public art events, with multiple projects in Humlum, NorreSnede, Sdr.Nissum, Nees-Skalstrup & Vorgod Barde ,West Jutland, Denmark, ET4U Contemporary Visual arts Projects, Denmark, Scandinavia

2005- 2007
Community and Public Art projects, Khoj International Artists Organization, New Delhi

2006
Tate Projects, Tate Modern
London.

2005
Gold Medalist College of Art, Delhi University, for MFA

2004
National Award for Painting, Lalit Kala Academy,National Academy of Art, India.
National Scholarship, Ministry of Culture, India.

2001
Printmaking residency and studio based
practice, Atelier 2221 Print and Edition Studio

2000
National Finalist, (Emerging Artist), Nokia Asia-Pacific Contemporary Art Award