As a socio-political, feminist artist, I make art installations that are anti-memorials to traumatic geopolitical events, such as partitions of countries, civil and military wars, riots, border violence, genocides, and terrorist attacks. A specific focus for me is to raise awareness about rape as a weapon in wars and conflicts in the 20th and 21st centuries.
I create anti-memorials from the dual perspectives of counter-memory and postmemory. My grandparents survived the Partition of India in 1947 but lost several members of their extended family to the brutal communal riots that ensued. I have devoted my art practice to examining such traumatic geopolitical events in depth.
I am a counter-memory expert, and an anti-memorial specialist. My anti-memorials are quietly provocative, temporary, incorporate visceral materials, and create experiential environments in which viewers can be vulnerable with unbearable and difficult memories with empathy. In short, I make “good trouble” with my anti-memorials.
I founded the Partition Anti-Memorial Project in 2007. As my art praxis expanded to include other traumatic geopolitical events, I founded the Counter-Memory Project in 2021 to encompass the breadth of my artistic practice.
My mission is to use my artwork to memorialize unbearable memories and raise consciousness about rape as a weapon in wars and conflicts in the 20th and 21st centuries.
My large-scale sculptures and site-sensitive installations reference the body to memorialize unbearable and difficult memories.
As an interdisciplinary artist, I migrate between fibers, latex, paper, clay, glass, metal, wood, poetry, and drawing. The maker in me enjoys the sensuality of different materials, and the scholar in me pursues the cultural references that different materials introduce into my work.
I seek to connect seemingly disparate geopolitical contexts because it is important to bring bridges into being. Counter-memories of communities and nations provide the viscera with which I build these bridges in my work.
Pritika Chowdhry is an artist, curator, and writer whose artworks are in public and private collections. Pritika's solo retrosective is being exhibited in the South Asia Institute of Chicago, from August 6, 2022 to December 10, 2022.
Pritika has exhibited her works nationally and internationally in group and solo exhibitions in the Weismann Museum in Minneapolis, Queens Museum in New York, the Hunterdon Museum in New Jersey, the Islip Art Museum in Long Island, Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, the DoVA Temporary in the University of Chicago, the Brodsky Center in Rutgers University, and the Cambridge Art Gallery in Massachusetts.
Pritika is the recipient of a Vilas International Travel Fellowship, an Edith and Sinaiko Frank Fellowship for a Woman in the Arts, a Wisconsin Arts Board grant, and a Minnesota State Arts Board grant.
Born and brought up in India, Pritika is currently based in Chicago, IL, USA. Pritika has an MFA in Studio Art and an MA in Visual Culture and Gender Studies from UW-Madison. Pritika has taught at Macalester College and College of Visual Arts, both in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Published scholarship about Pritika’s work has come out in peer-reviewed research publications and various exhibition catalogs. Pritika has presented her studio research projects at various national conferences, such as the International Arts Symposium at NYU, The Contested Terrains of Globalization at UC-Irvine, and the South Asian Conference at UW-Madison. Pritika also participates in panels and gives lectures and artist talks about her work by invitation.