> Wandering Violin Mantis

Nibha Sikander

29 November - 04 January, 2020

We are delighted to present Wandering Violin Mantis– Nibha Sikander’s first solo exhibition. In this exhibition, Sikander expands on her growing practice of looking at and recreating various species from nature, some real and some imagined. The artist uses layer upon layer of intricately cut out paper to create form after form of moths, mantises and birds, each one meticulously assembled in her studio in Murud-Janjira. This exhibition focuses on Sikander’s observations of a variety of insects and other creatures that surround her. Fascinated by nature since childhood, and more particularly since moving to her current home, the artist began experimenting with making birds in her medium of choice – paper. The paper, according to her, mimics nature in its versatility – soft, stiff, malleable and flexible, almost like wings, feathers and antennae. In some of her works, Sikander delves deeper into her engagement with her subjects, deconstructing, and even abstracting the individual elements of the bird or insect that she is recording.

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Nibha Sikander

Nibha Sikander (b.1983) has done her Bachelors (2006) and Masters (2008) in Visual Arts (Painting) from the Maharaja Sayajirao University, Vadodara. In 2019, Nibha had her first solo exhibition, Wandering Violin Mantis at TARQ.Since her graduation, she has been part of several group exhibitions, some of which include ALCHEMY: Explorations in Indigo, Kasturbhai Lalbhai Museum, Ahmedabad (2019); Beyond Borders, curated by the CONA Foundation at the Whitworth Gallery/Museum, Manchester, England (2017-18); A New Space, Nazar Art Gallery, Vadodara (2016); Back to College, VADFEST, Faculty of Fine Arts, Vadodara (2015); A Construal of Mourning and Rage, Emami Chisel Art, Kolkata (2014); Group show at Studio X, as part of the Paradise Lodge International Artist Residency, Mumbai (2013); Beauty and the Beast, Matthieu Foss Gallery, curated by Anne Maniglier, Mumbai, (2011); Show Girls!, Strand Art Room Gallery, curated by Anne Maniglier, Mumbai (2009); From our Cabinets to the Museum, Open Eyed Dreams Gallery, curated by Aparna Roy, Kochi (2009); and Class of 2008, Art Konsult Gallery, curated by Bhavna Khakkar, New Delhi (2008-09). She has taken part in residencies like Paradise Lodge International Artist Residency, Lonavala, Mumbai (November 2013); Sandarbh International Artists Residency Programme, Jaipur (November 2012); and Residency at the American School of Bombay, Mumbai (March - May 2010).She is the recipient of the Nasreen Mohamedi Scholarship, Maharaja Sayajirao University, Vadodara, 2004-2005.Recently, she has participated in India Art Fair 2020 in Delhi. Nibha currently works and lives in Murud-Janjira and Mumbai.


  • Art Around Town | Mumbai Mirror

    Artist Nibha Sikander’s first solo exhibition, Wandering Violin Mantis, is inspired by her fascination with nature and her creatures, which she developed during her childhood. She uses layers of intricately cut out paper to create moths, mantises and birds- some inspired by real and imagined creatures. Nov 29 to Jan 4, 11 am to 6:30 pm. Tarq, Colaba. Call: 66150424

    Mumbai Mirror
    19 Nov 2019
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  • The Art of Documenting- Mid-day

    Wandering Violin Mantis: During a visit with family to the Kaziranga National Park in 2012, Nibha Sikander was blown away at the sight of the Great Indian Hornbill. Birds, have always been fodder for conversation with the artist's family, and their home in Murud-Janjira has only aided this. But, seven year ago, Sikander began translating it into art with intricate paper cut-outs and layering that takes the shape of insects, moths and birds. Having built a collection of over 400 such three-dimensional figures, she presents them at her first solo, Wandering Violin Mantis. "Eight months ago, I found one on the bench. It was so beautifully camouflaged as a twig that I ended up observing it for three hours," she says. With tools comprising an x-acto knife and coloured card paper, Sikander's technique has evolved over time. She says, "When I started cutting, my works were flatter. Then, I began layering them to look like sculptural relief. The time taken to complete each piece varies: from two days to 14 for birds." - Nibha Sikander

    02 Dec 2019
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  • Paper, Threads, Dolls- ART India

    Sandhya Bordewekar discusses the works of five Baroda artists who engage with diverse crafts- based methods in their art practices. One has to see Nibha's delicately crafted and minutely worked paper relief sculptures of moths and birds with a magnifying glass to catch the intricate nuances. Nibha started paper-cutting before she joined an art school and developed her own techniques that depended largely on the thickness of papers.  

    Art India
    12 Dec 2019
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  • The Edge of Wings. The Indian Express. 26.12.19

    The Indian Express
    26 Dec 2019
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  • Craft of the Critters. The Hindu

    Artist Nibha Sikander aesthetically portrays a variety of insects and moths that are often overlooked in our own city. Amidst moss-laden concrete walls, blue trumpet vine flowers shift in the evening breeze. A tiny leaf emerges from a crack in a drainpipe, with its roots dangling in mid-air. For the keen observer, the city holds a plethora of microscopic forests bursting within the urban chaos. Murud- Janjira based artist, Nibha Sikander, is interested in meticulously assembling the residents of these miniature forests using layer upon layer of cut-out paper.  

    The Hindu
    25 Dec 2019
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  • Pool Design. A Natural Instinct

    Nibha Sikander's 3D figures of birds and insects are intended to draw attention to the wonders of nature. She tells Sonalee Tamar of 'The Indian Curator' how she was drawn to the art of paper-cutting. I started cutting paper over 15 years ago and when I first started, it literally involved taking a single piece of paper and cutting it into abstract forms. This developed into more stencil-like forms using colored paper. Almost six or seven years ago, I developed ..this technique of laying paper from the top and adding thicker paper in-between, to add more body and make it more relief sculpture like.

    POOL Design Magazine
    11 Feb 2020
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