Aastha Manchanda is a Goa-based visual artist who captures the imagery we see every single day in the world around us with a unique surrealist lens that lays bare the layers of her subjects with poignancy and earnestness. Her latest project 'tender morning feel' captures the sublime form of the human body in its most authentic and vulnerable state and aims to give a voice to those who have so long felt like less because of something as arbitrary as the shape of their body.
Tell us about your project.
The intimacy; something about the human body being vulnerable and bare, I have always been enchanted with the idea of its movement unveiling the curves and crevices. The sunlight seeping in on the back almost drawing a storyline on the erect spine watching it dance as the muscles contract and relax in a delicate morning stretch, to me is like curling up with a John Keats poem on a slow summer day. tender morning feel’ is a more personal story of my muse Aman who pens it down so vividly; his journey and his emotions all released in a cathartic cleanse.
Describe your creative process and the purpose with which you create.
I am more patient with myself today. The creative process isn't defined and set in stone anymore. Looking at a photograph of the opening of a dahlia in my mother's garden back home inspires me to push myself to make a tiny floral installation of my own. It is ludicrous, to be honest, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I am not someone who is comforted with the idea of the number of likes or followers- I am not a social media antagonist! I have had the pleasure to collaborate with some wonderful artists via Instagram, but I am also not one to produce mindless content in the name of creating. It is a conscious choice and effort where I try to be conscious about how I make art and what I put out there in the world for consumption. I am seeking for fulfilment as opposed to engagement, I guess.
What are some of your biggest inspirations over the years of your artistic career?
I wouldn't know where to begin. My art has also evolved and taken newer shapes and forms allowing me to hone my skills and venture into virgin territories. My love for cinema, poetry, photographs and flowers has now taken a life of its own, and seeped into my work making me wrap myself in inspirations from all kinds of art form. To name a few and for varied reasons (in no particular order of preference or importance), I'd say Diane Arbus, Annie Leibovitz, Sarah Moon, Rala Choi, Tim Walker, Zhong Lin, Doan Ly, Sarah Van Rij, Yayoi Kusama, Oscar Wilde, Tim Burton, Wong Kar Wai, Irving Penn, Jamie Beck.. I really could keep going on forever.
What are some things you learned while putting this project together?
The body is like a songbird breaking into a dramatic ballad with every move.
Who are some artists who are currently on your radar?
Chantal Convertini, Mahoor Jamal, Brooke DidDonato, and Cho Gi-seok
You can follow Aastha here.