Varunika Saraf (b.1981) received her BFA in painting from JNTU College of Fine Arts, Hyderabad in 2004 and her MFA in Painting from the University of Hyderabad in 2006. She also holds an MPhil in Art History from the School of Arts and Aesthetics, JNU in 2008. Saraf has recently submitted her PhD thesis, Souvenirs, Heritage and Fakes: The Making of the “Indian Miniature”.
Varunika Saraf is known for layering archival and mythical visual references to create a conceptual dialogue with the past and at the same time explore the antecedents of a range of contemporary political and social issues. These dense layers of often marginalised histories are narrated through the lives of dispossessed who appear alongside characters from history and even imaginary beings in poetic landscapes. Saraf achieves this visual complexity through various techniques, which include the use of the wasli board, watercolours prepared from natural and mineral pigments, dyeing, embroidery, block printing, etc. Saraf ’s mournful retelling of historical events acts as socio-historical documents in the wake of the exponential rise of cultural nationalism.