Born in 1993 in Varanasi, Janhavi Khemka is an interdisciplinary artist in India and Chicago. She attends the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in pursuit of a Master of fine arts degree in print media. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Painting and printmaking from the Faculty of Visual Art, Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi, India (2015) and a Master of Fine art in printmaking from Graphics Kala Bhavan, Visva Bharati University in Santiniketan (2017). Her current artistic research has an intersection of traditional printmaking, animation, fiber arts, and performance. She has exhibited her artwork in regional, national, and international galleries and institutions throughout the United States, India, Norway, Korea, and the United Kingdom.
She has participated in national and international exhibitions, artist residencies, given lecture, and attended national printmaking conferences. Currently she got the Printmaking Today Graduate Award for Winter Issues Magazine in December 2022 from Cello Press Limited, Witney, UK. In 2023, she got selected to present a Solo exhibition, at Comfort Station Logan Square, Chicago, IL. She has recently been invited to attend residencies at Vermont Studio Center, Kala’s Artist in Residence Program (Berkely in CA), and Bodies of Work, University of Illinois Chicago (Chicago, IL). These residencies range from four-weeks to thirty-nine-week .
As a Deaf person for most of my life, I have found it difficult to express my innermost feelings, impressions, and reflections to others through spoken language. At the age of 15, my mother passed away from cancer. She was my first teacher and my link to communicating with the outside world. Her technique also created limits, barring me from learning sign language, with an emphasis on lip reading. Upon her passing, I had to learn to negotiate the world around me on my own. Art has helped me search for meaning in smaller, intimate things- my hands, their relationship to the world, my sight, and my ability to touch. I see and feel a storm but cannot hear it.
My practice is focused on finding ways to translate my perception. Therefore, most works are rooted in the personal, both mental and physical. Each work can be compared to a pin dropped on a map of my being: this is where I was hurt when I cut my hand on a piece of metal; this is where I found my way home when I was lost at a carnival; here I made friends, here I found a child who accepted my shortcomings; here I spread my wings, or felt the first touch of affection from another body. Most recently this mapping has extended to installation-based environments with woodcuts, stop motion, and vibrational materials. I invite the viewer to experience my perception of the world, devoid of aural stimulation.