Born in India in 1984, living in North Wales, and currently working as an artist studio assistant. Raji Salan’s arts education and practice have a cross-disciplinary approach to the arts and sciences. She has used a variety of analog and digital methods, including camera obscura photography, wood relief carving, and drawing. Her current exploration in collage enables her to research, collect and archive images from many sources that develop her intuitive approach to alternative methods of image making.
Her artworks have been exhibited at The Jerwood Drawing Prize 2010 and 2016 (London and UK tour), Household Name 2021 Elysium Gallery (Swansea), regularly exhibiting at Galeri and CARN (North Wales), with an upcoming solo show at Galeri in 2024.
Recently, like many during the pandemic, I went through a shift in my life and returned to making art with the ambition to explore collage. It became a way for me to make sense of the order and chaos in the world that was becoming overwhelming. The need to make deeper connections with myself and the world led me to look to inwards, the psyche, in order to find other ways of seeing.
I carefully research a variety of art and science-related sources for potential working material. I tune into the silence and take a journey through these images, which can feel like following a yellow brick road, eventually, I see connections unfold. This process allows me to physically order my busy mind and distill it into what I refer to as, a visual essay. The hybrid worlds that emerge, allow me to be curious and attend to the strangeness of things. My work invites the viewer to make their own connections and journeys. The potential to surprise the viewer and share my pursuit of understanding the world we inhabit is what really compels me to continue creating.
Using images from various cultures has come from my experience of growing up in a diverse environment, and my work echoes this inspiration through color. I compose a dance using drapery from renaissance paintings and eastern botany and anatomy illustrations. Details from arteries and Indian miniature paintings come together to display the richness that makes up life. By observing the world in detail, I see the ordinary meet the extraordinary. We are complex vessels and though my exploration in college is young, the process so far has helped me gain deeper, often spiritual insights
How does the theme ‘Biosphere’ play a role in your work?
The biosphere is seen in my collage work through the images I use inspired by my interest in anatomy and botany. My collages take a journey from observations I make of the world. Referencing the first organisms found growing on earth, microbes, human/animal anatomy, and the variety of colors found in all life.
Everything that inhabits the world we live in comes out in my collage compositions, intertwining to create a narrative for the viewer to explore.
The delicate balance of life on earth is often my focus, I try to present the world we live in, in a beautiful way yet hint at the inevitable cyclical nature of things too.