T. Venkanna >

Venkanna holds a Masters in Fine Art (M.F.A.) in printmaking from the Faculty of Fine Arts, M.S. University of Baroda and Bachelors in Fine Arts (B.F.A.) in painting from J.N.T.U, Hyderabad where he was awarded a Gold medal. The artist lives and works in Baroda, India.

2019 began with a solo project Tradition/Transformation curated by Abhay Maskara at Gallery Maskara. In 2018 Venkanna participated in an exhibition Inde, Manoir de Martigny, Switzerland. In 2017 he had his seventh solo show Looking for Peace, Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai, India. In 2016 he was part of a group show TIME, Gallery Maskara, Mumbai, India. In 2015 he had his sixth solo show CELEBRATION at Gallery Maskara, Mumbai, India. In 2014 his shows include Residual Remnants, Site art space, Baroda, India; Midnight's Grandchildren curated by Girish Shahane, Kitab Mahal, Mumbai; Trajectories: 19th-21st Century Printmaking from India and Pakistan curated by Dr. Paula Sengupta and Camilla H. Chaudhary, Sharjah Art Museum, UAE. Major shows in 2012-13 include Air Sri Lanka, Galerie Krinzinger Projekte, Vienna, Austria, Lunch with Olympia, curated by Robert Storr, Yale University School of Art, CT, USA, Between the Lines: Identity, Place, and Power, National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), Mumbai, India, Pancha Mahabhuta (The Five Great Elements) at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, Kochi, India, Cynical Love: Life in the Everyday curated by Gayatri Sinha at the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, Noida, India, a solo presentation at Art Brussels 30th Contemporary Art Fair, ProjectStage at Art Stage Singapore, the India Art Fair, India, the VIP Art Fair, (online). In 2011, Venkanna presented a controversial solo performance at Art Stage Singapore and was part of New Trends from South India, at the Lalit Kala Academy, Chennai, India. Other key projects during the year included; CROSSROADS: India escalate (India Pavilion) at the Prague Biennale 5, Czech Republic, a solo presentation at the Art Brussels 29th Contemporary Art Fair, Belgium, Fabular Bodies, curated by Gayatri Sinha for the Harmony Art Foundation, Prince of Wales Museum, Mumbai, India, Printmaking: Open Studio, at Gallery Maskara, Mumbai, India, (M)other India at Galerie du Jour – Agnès B, Paris, France and Window in the Wall, Pearl Lam Galleries, Shanghai, China. In 2010 his work was part of Finding India: Art for the New Century, Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Taipei, Taiwan. His solo show, NERO opened at Gallery Luce in Torino, Italy and he simultaneously showed at Artissima 17 Torino, Italy. He was also the youngest artist featured in the Saatchi Gallery show The Empire Strikes Back: Indian Art Today, London, UK.

The artist was shortlisted for the SKODA prize in 2010 and 2012. His works are in major collections including the Charles Saatchi collection (UK), the Burger Collection (Switzerland/Hong Kong), Swagemakers collection (Netherlands) and many more in America, Japan, Russia Europe and India.

Artist Statement

The predominant subject in T. Venkanna's works is sexual imagination which questions and confronts the stereotypical ways in which sexuality is understood and defined.

"The sexual behaviour of human beings is habituated by societal norms and conditions. I believe it is due to this, that sexual fantasy gains importance in a human being's life and an individual achieves extreme pleasure out of this simple act of day-dreaming, wherein s/he escapes from the harsh realities of this world via an undisturbed and uninterrupted flight of imagination."

"In this endeavour of mine, I also have been (re)presenting certain imageries/motifs taken from artists of yester years [like Hockney, Rousseau, Mondrian, etc.] as well as from specific forms of traditional art. The political and social contexts underlying these works are quite different when they were made. I re-present these imageries according to my idea, in the process critically evaluating the norms and terms that exist within contemporary society."

His continuous persistence with this subject has stimulated his interest to explore image–making in all kinds of media, including drawing painting, sculpture, installation and performance. Venkanna's most important linguistic device is the integration of the personal and the social using material as per the subject's requirement with complete freedom and ease.


Major collections in India, Japan, Russia, Netherlands, France, USA, UK, including the Charles Saatchi Collection, UK, the Burger Collection, Switzerland, and the Swagemakers collection (Netherlands).