Preetika Rajgariah is blossoming into an ever-more powerful version of herself in her new series of large-scale multi-panel brightly-colored self-portraits on Yoga Mats. Rajgariah, who performed to great acclaim a perverse version of twister on dotted Yoga mats in the halls of the Untitled Art Fair last December, continues her ongoing quest toward reclaiming the bastardized language of mass culture American yoga by employing her fiercely queer Indian-Texan persona. She will be showing expanded and timely pleasure based paintings in this classic Montrose storefront gallery.
An Indian American woman raised in a traditional Texas Indian family Preetika Rajgariah's explorations of herself are unexpected and radical. The series of provocative self-portraits on mats, collectively named Fans Only, are unapologetic and daring, exploring the embodiment of the feminine divine while also challenging notions of agency and portraiture in the canon. This uncensored making, during a time when women and queer bodies' existence are a threat to white patriarchal systems, is a pleasure centered celebration, allowing Rajgariah to profit from her own sexual creativity -- something third wave feminists always hoped would come to pass.
Indian bodies and spiritually rooted practices are rarely unveiled in the visual culture of the westernized wellness industry, so the artist combats this erasure and reappropriates materials like the euro- creation of the mat itself, inserting her body into unexpected and futurist narratives that allow space to explore specificities of her lived experiences while also reveling in the nostalgic and future imaginations.
Wrapped in fabrics from family and community sourced saris, her multi- hyphenated body claims its space there in such a manner that it cannot be ignored while also giving importance to and carrying forward the legacy of the women and culture makers before her.