Anita Arora began her pursuit of the arts while crossing continents and oceans, exploring classical dance and music from London and America. Returning stateside from her native London, she set down roots as she continued experimenting with artistic forms.
Anita’s appreciation of art that walked a fine line of social distance led her to begin her artistic work of Morbid Anatomy; finding beauty in the ordinary, exploring human relationships and remixing history and the fantastic in assemblage art, which she describes as being frozen in time.
AP: How do you bring sociology and art together in your work?
AA: In orchestrating individual components into dioramas, I comment on the complexities of human nature through visual prose. We set limitations and construct our worlds with set boundaries yet demand autonomy to be ourselves. This is true of art.
I use antiques in my art as I believe they breathe new life and purpose into ordinary objects from our collective past, in the form of storytelling devices. Simultaneously, it juxtaposes the time-staking craftsmanship with rigid purpose. I see this as the definition of the human condition.
I have a deep appreciation for the obscure, unusual, and anything balancing the fine line of social decency. I find beauty in more than the obvious. Oftentimes, this extends to structures, science, and self-identity – both as individuals and as a society, all the while challenging the accepted norm – both visually and metaphorically.
AP: Why shadow boxes, versus other mediums, for your art?
AA: To me, assemblage art represents a magical realm and doorway into another level of reality. I use bones, nails, wood, metal, dried plants, and organic matter. The act of assembling repurposes objects that were originally intended for entirely different uses. I find that recreating and translating echoes from the past works well with a literal (and limiting) third dimension. This is quite like building any manner of structure…respecting the cosmetic while working within the structure of erected walls of the box. The line between literal and metaphorical often blurs.
This tactile art of storytelling through the use of found objects brings to life a history as accurate or fantastical as your whim dictates, but I’ve found the frozen-in-time sense of assemblage art to be incomparable to any other.
AP: What fascinates you about human anatomy, and where does this fascination stem from?
AA: The human body strikes me as the most fascinating, complex machine. Organic yet coordinated, and so painfully self-aware. What equally fascinates me are the scientific and medical advances in understanding, treating, curing as well as relating to our own bodies – and to each other. The perception of the human body as art, both mechanically as metaphorically, in what we can do as a human race and collectively in society is infinitely fascinating.
AP: What sort of process do you follow when you take a piece of artwork from conception to a completed shadowbox?
AA: In terms of how long it takes, the process itself can range from a burst of inspiration to completion anywhere from an hour, to several months. Regardless of the time involved, my seed of inspiration typically begins with an idea I wish to convey. The challenge is presenting the final piece in just the right balance. I sift through opposing layers while opening the curtain to a less-than-obvious viewpoint. Quite in the same manner in which musicians hear the chords of an idea snag in the mind, I mix and re-mix, adding and subtracting until I see my idea unfold and I refine to satisfaction.
AP: Where do you draw inspiration for the components of your pieces?
AA: Literally everywhere. Once you engage the ability to change your perception of the world around you, it’s easy to recognize symbolism inhabiting in anything from the complex system of veins in a leaf to the morning sun illuminating cracks in an abandoned warehouse window. I see much beauty in the ordinary, and the alignment of ideas with random framing of visual elements sometimes occur in the most peculiar of settings.
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