Gunjan Kumar is an artist, independent scholar, and educator originally from Punjab, India. She completed a postgraduate degree in Textiles from the National Institute of Design and Technology, New Delhi. She has spent many years traveling through India and other countries in South Asia, observing age-old practices in textiles and indigenous arts and crafts, visiting archeological sites, and observing prehistoric paintings and other tribal arts. All these experiences form the undertones of her art practice. Her works have been exhibited at the South Asia Institute, the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art, the Donnelley Foundation, the Chicago Artist Coalition, the National College of Arts Lahore, and the India Art Fair, among others She is currently a resident at the Chicago Art Department and has been a resident fellow at the Edward Albee Foundation, Montauk, NY. As a Guest Faculty at Harper College and Olivet Nazarene University, Illinois she has lectured on the Process, Material, and History of Natural Pigments with a focus on prehistoric cave art from around the world, also shedding light on derivative processes and media in related schools of art in Asia. She has worked with art and design institutions such as the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, the Design Museum of Chicago, the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art, and the Chicago Artist Coalition, amongst others. She currently lives and works in Chicago.
Kumar has worked on a project with an American Pakistani artist that presents their responses to the exploration of archaeological sites and artifacts in the Sindhu (Indus) watershed, a geographical region extending across northwest India and much of Pakistan. Kumar has lectured as Guest Faculty on Process, Material, and History of Natural Pigments with a focus on prehistoric cave art from around the world, also shedding light on derivative processes and media in related schools of art in Asia.
At its core, Gunjan’s work is about observing. Observing matter in its elemental form and in relation to self. Her interests lie in how materials and processes tell a story of self-rooted in place, serving as sensory portraits of the inhibited and the bygone. Deep engagement with materials such as raw handwoven cotton, clay from north India, and surrounding rivers in Chicago results in drawings, paintings, and sculptures that activates physical and non-physical connections to my roots in the East and bridges them with my current home in West. An unhurried sense of time is essential in the process. The influence of indigenous practices, particularly prehistoric cave paintings, and related schools that I have been visiting for many years, plays an important role in carving my process and ideas.