Rakhi Peswani in her studio, 2022

Back to the Basics: Rakhi Peswani

Enter the extraordinary world of Rakhi Peswani, the Indian artist who imagines the future as ‘hand-made’

Rakhi Peswani looks closely at nature to re-see her own self. “Sometimes I feel I’m neither a woman nor a man, I am an animal,” says the artist, driven by primal instincts in her creativity. Combining her love for drawing, painting and large-scale sculpture, Peswani works intimately with materials such as jute fibre, waste cotton and natural pigments to create forms that reflect a powerfully expressive inner world fuelled by instinct and emotion. 

Born in 1977 in New Delhi, Peswani grew up all around India, moving every three years with her father’s post in the army, and learning from a variety of cultural practices, be it traditional bamboo weaving in Assam or block printing in Rajasthan. Peswani’s mother was her first teacher in this regard, opening her world to the wonder of manual processes. “Making with hands was very much part of my upbringing,” she explains.

In this BMW Artist Film, Peswani tells us how artists can play a role in challenging conventions to shape a better tomorrow — and the power of working with one’s hands.

Rakhi Peswani is an artist and heads the Department of Visuals Art at Ashoka University, Sonipat. She has been shown at India Art Fair in previous editions with The Guild and the Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art.