Preetika Rajgariah

Artadia Awardee

Preetika Rajgariah makes visually lush yoga mat paintings, intricate performances, and installations; autobiographical and often mordantly funny, her work pushes against Western aesthetics and beauty standards, centering her own body as a site and instrument of decolonization. In these very different but rigorous and richly imaginative practices, Hodge, Gaona, and Rajgariah each explore some of the most pressing issues of our time.

-Natalie Dupêcher, Associate Curator of Modern Art, the Menil Collection

Preetika Rajgariah (b. 1985) is a multidisciplinary artist whose works examines the complicated intersections of cultural identity, race, capitalism, and sexuality while referencing her traditional upbringing as an Indian born American. She has exhibited and performed in spaces such as Untitled Miami Basel, the Asia Society Texas Center, Roots & Culture and the Donnelley Foundation in Chicago, the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts in San Francisco, Women & Their Work in Austin, and Diverseworks Houston. She received her MFA from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign and currently lives and works in Houston, TX.

Through painting, object making, video installation, and performance, Rajgariah weaves together her unique life experiences as a queer, Indian born Texan, with culturally loaded materials to explore the ways in which an immigrant experience counters and aligns with a southern American upbringing. She has a direct relationship to the materials she uses in her work: saris her mother wore, sindoor powder from a failed marriage, rakhis she ties to my brother, hair shorn from her head, and yoga mats from the local community – all to decolonize beauty standards, unlearn capitalist programming, and recognize the nuanced difference between appropriation and appreciation.

Have have knots, 2021, Posers, 2019, Waiting to Exhale, 2019, Trust is the union of intelligence and integrity, 2020, What belongs to you shall come to you, 2020, Spread the light be the lighthouse, 2020, The world needs your unique gifts, don’t leave them still inside you, 2021, Made for Export, 2021