Sonia Mehra Chawla is an artist based in New Delhi/India. She received her BFA (2001) and MFA (2004) in Fine Arts from Delhi University’s College of Art in New Delhi/India. Chawla has an interdisciplinary practice as an artist, photographer and researcher. Chawla works at the intersections of art, science and technology. Her artistic practice explores notions of selfhood, nature, ecology, sustainability and conservation. In her work, she embraces and explores a diversity of artistic techniques, formats and possibilities, ranging from complex forms of printmaking to photography, video, painting and the trans-media installation.
Sonia Mehra Chawla received the National Award for Visual Arts, Lalit Kala Akademi, National Academy of Art India in 2004. She was a fellow of the Charles Wallace India Trust of the British Council, and was awarded a scholarship for a research project in the United Kingdom in 2015. Furthermore, she was an awardee and fellow of the Art+ Science International research and residency program of Khoj International Artists’ Association in New Delhi, supported by Wellcome Trust UK/DBT India Alliance (2017-18) Chawla was awarded an International fellowship in the area of Social Sciences by Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart, Germany for the Art, Science and Business program of the Akademie (2017-2021). She received a fellowship from Creative Scotland and Marine Scotland in 2018 for an art & science engagement project and related field research in Scotland, UK. Her project in the UK is supported by Edinburgh Printmakers, ASCUS Art & Science & Marine Laboratory of the Scottish Government in Aberdeen. (2018-2021).
Chawla’s solo projects include ‘Critical Membrane’, Exhibit 320, New Delhi/India (2016), curatorial adviser: Ranjit Hoskote, ‘Scapelands’, Exhibit 320 (2014), New Delhi/India and Tarq, Mumbai/India (2015), in collaboration with British Council and Charles Wallace India Trust, ‘Embryonic Plant & Otherworlds’, 10 Chancery Lane Gallery, Hongkong (2013), and ‘Metamorphosing Female: Transition- Transfiguration’, Beck & Eggeling International Fine Arts, Dusseldorf/ Germany (2011).
Mehra Chawla has participated in curated projects at several International Museums and Institutions including Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen, Stuttgart/ Germany, British Council, New Delhi/ India, Essl Museum of Contemporary Art, Klosterneuberg/ Austria, Yinchuan Museum of Contemporary Art, Yinchuan/ China, Tate Modern, London/ UK, Embassy of Switzerland, New Delhi/ India, Today Art Museum, Beijing/ China, CSMVS Museum, Mumbai/ India (Formerly the Prince Of Wales Museum Of Western India) and Goethe Institut/ Mumbai, India.
Chawla’s Selected Participations and Projects include: ‘Collab :perspectives on art & ecology’, curated by Jesal Thacker, Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai/India (2020), 'Fragile Kinships', curated by Shaunak Mahbubani, Embassy of Switzerland, New Delhi/India (2019), ‘The Undivided Mind', Khoj International Artists Association, in collaboration with Wellcome Trust UK/DBT India Alliance (2018), 'Collection of Undoings', curated by Usha Gawde, 1X1 Art Gallery, Dubai/ UAE (2019), 'A World in a City : Zoological and Botanic Gardens’, curated by Kaiwan Mehta, Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen, ifa Galerie, Stuttgart/ Germany (2017), ‘Planes of Experience, Zones of Action', curated by Kaiwan Mehta, Goethe Institut, Max Mueller Bhawan, Mumbai/ India (2017), ’On Slippery Grounds’, ET4U Contemporary Visual Art Projects, Denmark/Scandinavia (2017), ‘For An Image Faster Than Light’, Yinchuan Biennale 2016, curated by Bose Krishnamachari, Museum of Contemporary Art, Yinchuan/China, ‘Ein Baum Ist Ein Baum Ist Ein Baum’ curated by Prof. Dr. Herwig Guratzch and Kirsten Nordahl, Beck & Eggeling, Dusseldorf/Germany (2015-2016), ‘The Wave Project’ curated by Klavs Weiss and Karen Havskov Jensen, ET4U Contemporary Visual Art Projects, Denmark/ Scandinavia (2013), ‘What Rules?’ curated by Deeksha Nath , Nature Morte, Berlin/ Germany (2012), ‘The Secret Life of Plants : contemporary perspectives from India, China and Iran’, curated by Maya Kovskaya, Exhibit 320, New Delhi/India (2012), ‘India Awakens, Under the Banyan Tree’, curated by Dr Alka Pande, ESSL Museum of Contemporary Art, Klosterneuberg/ Austria (2011), ‘Global/Local: Time and Space in Contemporary Indian Art’, curated by Stefan Wimmer, Henn Galerie, Munich/Germany and Beck and Eggeling International New Quarters, Dusseldorf/Germany (2010), ‘Lo Real Maravilloso: Marvelous Reality’ curated by Sunil Mehra, Gallery Espace, New Delhi/India (2009), ‘Re-Claim / Re-Cite / Re-Cycle’, curated by Bhavna Kakar, Galerie Bose Pacia, Kolkata/India (2009), ‘Labyrinths Urban- Organic’, 1x1 Art Gallery, Dubai/ UAE (2009), ‘The Second Sex: India’, curated by Bhavna Kakar, 10 Chancery Lane Gallery, Hongkong (2008), ‘Identity and Masquerade: Staging the Self’, multimedia project, directed by Anne Braybone, Tate Modern/London (2006), ‘CC: Crossing Currents: Video Art & Cultural Identities, Indo-Dutch Video Art Exhibition’, curated by Yohan Pinajjpel, Lalit Kala Akademi in collaboration with Royal Netherlands Embassy and Mondriaan Foundation, New Delhi/India (2004).
Chawla’s work has been featured in several International publications including: ‘Collective Care & Response-ability’, a scholarly publication of the Akademi Schloss Solitude, Germany (2020), ‘Art & Ecology’ published by Marg Foundation, edited by Ravi Agarwal & Latika Gupta (2020), 'Hence (UN) Proven: Reflections on Art and Science', published by Khoj International Artists' Association + Wellcome Trust UK/ DBT India Alliance (2018), 'For An Image Faster Than Light', The publication of Yinchuan Biennale 2016, curated by Bose Krishnamachari. Published by the Yinchuan Museum of Contemporary Art, China (2017), Eine Welt in der Stadt, 'A World in The City: Zoological and Botanic Gardens', published by Institut fur Auslansbeziehungen, Germany (2017), 'Some things that only Art can do: A Lexicon of Affective Knowledge', Edited by Nancy Adajania, published by The Raza Foundation (2017)
Chawla’s forthcoming solo presentations and major projects include ‘Entanglements of Time & Tide’ at Edinburgh Printmakers, Scotland/UK in collaboration with Edinburgh International Science Festival 2021, supported by Marine Scotland, Creative Scotland & ASCUS Art & Science, and, ‘Earth Gardens’ at Akademie Schloss Solitude, Germany in collaboration with Botanischer Garten & Botanishes Museum, Berlin. (2021)
Recent collection: Albertina Museum (Albertina Modern, the new museum of Modern & Contemporary art of the Albertina) Vienna/Austria. (2020)