“I would like to say I create works that take you places, back in time and forward into the future, reminding you of many things at once, stretching your imagination and pulling emotions at different ends.”
Latika Nehra’s Creative Evolution: From Graphic Design to Ceramics
Latika Nehra is an Indian artist born in Jaipur in 1991, where she lived until the age of 25 before moving to Germany in 2016 to pursue her master’s degree. Berlin has since become her home. Growing up in a middle-class family during India’s liberalization period in the 1990s, when simplicity, optimism, and integrity were generally prized. Pragmatism was predominant and discussions of art and life rare.
Fortunately, Nehra attended prestigious schools that exposed her to career opportunities beyond science and commerce. Her education at the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad had a significant impact on her life. The design-thinking approach taught there allowed her to imbue ceramics with broader societal relevance. For most of her twenties, Nehra worked primarily as a graphic designer, only dedicating herself to ceramics in 2020.
She believes that the use of clay creates a sense of familiarity and connection between her audience and her artwork. The raw, natural surfaces and textures of her pieces are supposed to be reminders of the primal cultural stirrings of human beings.
In terms of technique, Nehra currently utilizes the coiling method to handcraft her pieces. While clay is her primary medium, she plans to experiment with other materials, such as marble, mycelium, and even mango pulp!
Embracing Change: The Impact of Studio Spaces on Nehra’s Art
Latika Nehra is in the early stages of her artistic journey and recognizes that her artist’s statement is continually evolving and subject to refinement. She aspires to enhance her craft through consistent practice and discipline, which she views as a crafts-person’s odyssey.
Since starting her journey in 2020, Nehra has repeatedly relocated to different studio spaces, including her upcoming move to what is by now her sixth studio in Berlin.
The environments in which Nehra operates influence the nature and quality of her work significantly, she says. Her artistic output has undergone substantial transformations as a function of the varying workspaces she has occupied. While she prefers an outdoor setting with natural light and warmth, some of her most exceptional creations have emerged from confined, dimly lit, and humid spaces. Regardless of the circumstances, Nehra possesses an unwavering determination and requires only a robust desk, water receptacle, clay, a set of tools, and her earphones to commence the creative process.
In contrast, her experiences outside the city, primarily in India while engaging in crafts projects, evoke a sense of collectivism and a deeper connection to cultural roots. This distinction extends to both the learning process and Nehra’s comprehension of her role as an artist and designer, as well as the inherent responsibilities accompanying that position.
Inspirations and Explorations: Latika Nehra’s Artistic Development
Inherently inquisitive and possessing a vivid imagination, she says, she often finds herself envisioning connections among individuals in the subway or transforming ordinary objects into extraordinary installations on the streets. Lately, her thoughts have been preoccupied with virtual reality and the circumstances that seemingly propel us further from a reality we once felt to collectively comprehended. Inspiration continually seeks her out, and she often struggles to quiet her ever-churning thoughts, feeling as though countless mental tabs remain open.
Embarking on a journey to understand artistic mediums, she explains, that she has delved into the world around herself and, crucially, the 5,000-year history of clay as a primal material. Through books and online lectures, she began to grasp this rich history, which harks back to a time before glazes or potter’s wheels existed. Her own work, in some ways, evolves in tandem with this ongoing exploration. Thus, as she will study the porcelain production of the 1200s, she predicts, it’ll have an influence on her art. Nevertheless, her style has developed autonomously, albeit in a non-linear manner. Progressing from vessels, she now creates more conceptual and sculptural pieces that have evolved from those initial forms.
Of all her creative endeavors, her most cherished project is undoubtedly “Blue Pottery, Jaipur“. This undertaking provided an ideal platform for her dual passions of art and design to intersect. She meticulously documented the process, which enabled her to share the intricacies of Indian craftsmanship with a global audience and imbue it with her own artistic interpretation.
Envisioning the Future: Upcoming Projects and Aspirations for Latika Nehra
Anticipation for Latika Nehra’s upcoming sculptural venture is amplified by the parallel development of an accompanying booklet.
She considers herself fortunate to be immersed in a creative profession that knows no bounds or need for retirement. This ever-evolving, growing, and maturing pursuit encapsulates her personal development and touches every aspect of her life. The past three years have been an incredible journey for the artist, all sparked by a humble bag of clay.