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Artist Spotlight: Manik Raj Nakra

Community Spotlights
Artist Spotlight: Manik Raj Nakra

Bridging the gap between ancient traditions and the modern world.

Meet Manik Raj Nakra, an Austin, TX-based artist whose paintings, drawings, and installations invite us to understand traditionalism with a contemporary twist. His art explores Indian iconography, colonial anachronisms, ancient artifacts, and cultural mythologies from a modern perspective. 

Nakra’s art journey began in elementary school, where Show & Tell ignited a lifelong passion. He filled sheets of paper with imaginative monsters and brought them to class. However, it wasn’t long before the other students became scared of the drawings, and Nakra’s interest in art piqued. This ultimately shaped the unique style he has today. 

His exploration of mediums led him to oil paint, and over time he developed a deep connection to its expressive qualities. This became the foundation of his creative process. Along with oils, he also uses metal leafing and other techniques in bold and graphic ways.

Dance Detail

But interestingly, Nakra worked for about 8 years without showing almost anyone his art. During this time, he solely focused on analyzing other various artists, perfecting his technique, and finding his voice. This led to his distinctive style that sets his work apart – and only then did he begin sharing it with the world through themes like power, lust, ceremony, and self-sabotage.

Wicked Huntsman

Manik Raj Nakra blends ancient stories with contemporary narratives – a continuing conversation that encompasses the past, present, and future – and we’re lucky to have his works available to members.

This fall the The Contemporary Austin will reveal his mural commission at the Jones Center in tandem with his upcoming fall show at Martha’s Contemporary.