Kenia / India
Neehar Kohli comes from a multicultural background. Born in Kenya and of India origin, she is a third generation Kenyan Indian. Following the Scramble for Africa and the subsequent division of the continent into European spheres of influence, Neehar’s ancestors came to East Africa from India as British colonial citizens. After India’s independence her ancestral village in Punjab became part of the newly created nation, Pakistan. Brought up and educated between Kenya and England, her studio is based in India and her artistic practice includes drawing, painting and sculpting.
Neehar draws inspiration from her multicultural background, cultural heritage and her experiences of place and identity. Inspired by the history of human migration and the opportunities and challenges brought about by movement, displacement and shifting identities, exemplified by the largest migrant community in the world today, the Indian diaspora. Her work is Inspired by life and the opportunity it offers to discover and search through creativity, depth, meaning and truth. Her approach is an explorative one into how energy transmutes and transforms in both the horizontal and vertical dimensions of experience and how stillness of presence is found through movement. Through her creative process she seeks alignment, integration of her observations and insights and expanded perception and awareness. Creative expression outward is also a way within because human expression and movement into the experiential realm of time and space, of movement and flux only occurs through presence.
Where once the impetus of exploration was the search for distant lands and trading routes that opened our knowledge up to each other and to a wider world, in this age of discovery, I feel that the journey of inquiry and exploration can turn within. To discover who we are and what has and continues to shape the human condition. Centuries ago, curiosity, intrigue, ambition and the idea of empire changed the way we experience the world today. Colonisation mapped the world, created new identities and changed our notions of who we think are and where we think we are.
I am intrigued by the diversity and confluence of cultures, ideas, stories myths and the evolution of human cognition in this terrestrial experience. I am interested in the power of perception and awareness to experience, interpret and express. The ability to celebrate the diversity of human expression and the unity of being alive in order to do so. I appreciate expression that serves to raise consciousness and give reason to celebrate the human spirit such as dance and music and endeavours that, throughout history, have sought to enhance our experience and understanding of ourselves and life.