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Utility Box Artist Roster - Raghavendra Rao K.V.


Artist statement

I am an artist originally from India living in Vancouver, Canada since 2011. I have undertaken numerous small-and large-scale public art projects, and participated in several international residencies that allowed me to analyze and express the ongoing presence of strong regional cultures through the world from the perspective of an ‘outsider’. I connect to the place where I work in terms of its physicality, history, and the memories and experiences of its people. I recently engaged with Canadian history through the commemoration of the centenary of the Komagata Maru incident, when a ship of more than 350 would-be immigrants to Canada from India were turned away from Vancouver. I created a series of paintings about the incident and local community at that time. I also worked with students from Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology (India) to design and build sets for a related theatrical program at the University of British Columbia (UBC).


Photo Gallery - Unclassified

  • Lost and Found
  • Visions of the Living Past
  • Flower Garland Maker
  • Present Attacks Rest of the Time
  • Mural

Artist bio

I graduated from Ken School of Art in Bangalore, India in 1990. In 1997, I received a scholarship to work at Gasteatelier Krone in Switzerland, which was followed by a solo exhibition. I have taken part in several residencies and workshops, including: Còmhla – International Artists’ Workshop, Scotland, 2003; Khoj - International Artists Workshop, Bangalore, 2003; PARTage – International Artists’ workshop in Mauritius, 2004; and ‘Ten Years Ten Artists’ – Residency and group show at Gasteatelier Krone, Switzerland, 2005. In 2008, I had a solo show titled ‘…lost and found…’ at Gallery Sumukha in Bangalore. In 2014, my paintings were exhibited in the curated group show ‘Ruptures in Arrival: Art in the Wake of the Komagata Maru’ at Surrey Art Gallery, BC. Prior to coming to Canada I was a core faculty member for fourteen years at Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology, one of India’s leading Art and Design institutes.

Community engagement

To create a work of art that is part of a community, a part of people's lives, is no easy thing. To create a utility box, I will first consider the context where it is situated and who would frequent it or pass by. What is the history of this place, and its people? What visual forms are a part of their lives already? What might they like to see here? I will do an informal study of the location and the people who live nearby, and interact with the community from that locale to understand what they might want to see in their community. I would then undertake a consultation process, sharing visual drafts with community members before deciding on the final design. The goal is not only to make the box aesthetically exciting and colorful, but also something that the local community would connect with, culturally and visually.

Read more about the Utility Box public art program.