Exhibit 320 will be previewing a solo exhibition “Critical Membrane” a presentation with Sonia Mehra Chawla on 26th November 2016.

Sonia Mehra Chawla’s ongoing project “Critical Membrane” is supported by M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, and advised by Ranjit Hoskote and Dr Prof. M S Swaminathan. The artists’ works at the Yinchuan Biennale ‘Blue Shores of Silence’ and ‘Residue’ are a component of this project.

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.

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.

The mangrove belt is the ‘membrane’ between land and sea and is disappearing at faster rates than any other ecosystem on Earth. The ongoing series of work combines and encompasses phases of research, expedition and documentation into comprehensive projects, through a robust interaction with Coastal and Mangrove ecosystems of India that spans across several media and traverses notions of selfhood, nature, ecology, and sustainability. Mangrove ecosystems become an entry point to various enquires: artistic, scientific, philosophical, and metaphorical.

The works explore the deep layers of the human psyche, associations and estrangements with nature and analyses the workings of a landscape in flux. The project is an artistic enquiry into the role of nature, the purpose and preservation of life, and the role of humankind as ‘makers’. According to Sonia in this critical moment, it is necessary for us to revisit our concepts of growth and prosperity and question our worldview in order to explore new ways of being and living on this planet.


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, India in 2004 and National Scholarship, Ministry of Culture, India in 2004. 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 for a research and studio-based project on Photopolymer Gravure in fine art printmaking at London Print Studio in 2014.

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 in 2015, and Kala Ghoda Literature Festival curated by Ranjit Hoskote & Asad Lalljee in 2016.

Chawla’s solo projects include “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, New Delhi in 2008.

Some of Chawla’s group participations and projects include: ‘Critical Membrane Project’ at Yinchuan Biennale 2016, Curated by Bose Krishnamachari, 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’ 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, Kirsten Nordahl, Dr (Prof.) Herwig Guratzch, Deeksha Nath, and Veeranganakumari Solanki.

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