Sanam Bakshi, born in 1986 in New Delhi, India is a contemporary artist currently residing and working between Delhi, Pune and London, the United Kingdom. She is a multidisciplinary artist producing drawings, paintings, stained-glass art, cut-outs in various materials (stainless steel, textile and wood), and not least of all, architectural design and sculpture, often monumental in scale, utilising materials such as stainless steel, marble and brass. She is known for exploring themes such as mortality, desire, spirituality- the quest for truth and freedom, conscience, innocence and nature’s intrinsic beauty. The artist aims to draw the spectator by causing them to look into the eyes of her subjects, often portraying the timeless symbiosis of humans and other life forms, seeking to create a recognition within the viewer of the presence of the one universal soul in all living beings, and to an extent, in inanimate objects as well. Her words, works, choice of materials and personal lifestyle all encourage living vegan out of compassion for all beings, which she describes as the natural consequence of individual evolution.
Artist’s Profile (Continued…)
Having demonstrated remarkable artistic talent in her early years, Sanam’s primary school teacher advised that she begin receiving tutoring in drawing and painting which she continued throughout her childhood and adolescence. The Ivy League graduate went on to study at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania which is where she encountered “an unappeasing yearning for the recognition of truth”. From 2007 onward Sanam embarked upon the spiritual path and it was during this period that she traveled through much of India by herself visiting places considered spiritually significant such as Tiruvannamalai, Coimbatore, Mysore, Varanasi, and Ujjain. The inspirations she drew during these travels made their way onto her canvases and stained-glass art installations, marking a rather prolific start to an early career.
These are installed in public spaces within private developments in Delhi’s National Capital Region. She went on to meet her zen master ‘Dolano’ in Pune in 2009 which fulfilled Sanam’s desire to “wake up”. Her time in Pune rebirthed an enthusiasm to reflect harmony, humour, occasionally employing satire to reflect current culture, as well as vibrance in her works. Sanam also studied art history during a summer abroad in Florence and completed a short course in graphic design at the Parsons School of Design in New York.
The Indian artist has made her mark in the contemporary art world which values originality ever increasingly by revisiting the use of traditional materials such as stained- glass, wood, brass and marble, employing traditional techniques for these materials while depicting new- age themes in her subject matter. In line with the recurring characteristics of contemporary sculpture, Sanam’s art installations often fade the distinction between two dimensional art, sculpture and installation art. Her back-lit stained- glass installations, wood cut-outs and Art Deco wood frames in particular accomplish this.
In the same breath, Sanam has been silently carving her way amongst the ranks of established contemporary artists by employing various industrial materials that have found their way to contemporary art and sculpture in recent times. She has worked with materials such as stainless steel, fibre reinforced plastic, toughened glass, granite as well as concrete in her more recent pieces which she began creating at the start of 2019. Sanam has demonstrated exceptional ingenuity in utilising the technology, methodology and engineering made available with use of such materials which include, but are not limited to, laser cutting, back lighting and leading manufacturing processes in the creation of her recent and upcoming sculptural and architectural installations.
Amongst these are a 300m long marble tunnel that she designed and completed in Southern Gurugram, Haryana as well as an enormous and intricately designed 40 foot high backlit stained- glass installation being placed in the centre of an outdoor water feature, as well as a massive golden stainless steel sculpture weighing three thousand kilograms, both being erected in Sohna, in the Gurgaon district of Haryana.
As of 2023, renowned nation-wide Indian publications such as ‘The Financial Express’, ‘Zee News’ and ‘abp Live’ among others have written pieces lauding Sanam’s enterprising achievements as a prolific young artist. ‘Hello!’ Magazine India published a feature story on her as the solo artist in focus in their March, 2020 edition. This was a particularly exciting feature covering a visit by Takashi Murakami to Sanam’s home during which time she received a “flash of inspiration” for creating scalable art for mass enjoyment. As of now, Sanam has continued creating exquisite intricate and bespoke pieces, albeit immense in mass and size. In 2019, she was the only young artist nominated to participate in New Delhi’s annual Savera Foundation Auction.