Vidha Saumya (b. 1984, Patna, India) lives and works in Helsinki. She received a BFA in Drawing and Painting from Sir J. J. School of Art, Mumbai, studied Visual communication Design at Srishti Manipal Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Bengaluru, pursued an independent study program at Beaconhouse National University, Lahore, and holds an MA in Visual Culture and Contemporary Art from Aalto University, Helsinki. She is the co-founder and co-editor of NO NIIN, a Helsinki-based online monthly art magazine, and a founding member of the Museum of Impossible Forms, Finland.
The kaleidoscopic art praxis of Vidha Saumya is woven through the concept of (Home)land and the notions of exile and utopia it triggers potently charge her work. Her works include poems, murals, drawings, photographs, videos, books, embroidery, sculptures, culinary interventions and digital artifacts. Through acrid humour, haptic textures, and arduous workwomanship, her works are at once accessible and intensely challenging. They question all kinds of normatives – aesthetics, gender, taste, academics or the most gigantic one of our times – the populist nation-state. In exploring the myriad provocations and protections of this life-world, her textual and visual devices for these persevering questions – are chosen with humour, love, wisdom and infinite care.
In her current practice she recreates the delicate and overwhelming experience of a hyper-mediated digital media experience through cross-stitch works. These cross-stitch works are not just ‘digital’ in their surface but also in their content and process. Just like digitized images are constantly printed, shared, reshared and kaleidoscopically reframed in media feeds, these works relentlessly change their context and meaning. The blurred and pixelated images are often sourced and paired by the happenstance of social media feed algorithms. By the mediation of cross-stitch, they cover their tracks, coaxing the viewer to find their way. They play with the sense of depth, creating a deceptive ‘whole’ out of very different parts and constantly zoom in and out between legible and illegible images, pointillism-fashion. Turning personal memories into cultural memories, these visual acts of “neither speaking nor forgetting” embeds visual universals both tragically and playfully under the skin of the viewer’s eye.
She has received artist grants from the Kone Foundation, Arts Promotion Center Finland, and Nordic Culture Point. Her works are in the collection of Aalto University and Kiasma Contemporary Art Museum. Her work has been exhibited in museums, institutions and galleries, including the Amos Rex Museum, Finland; Vantaa Art Museum, Finland; Vermont Studio Center, US; Academill, Finland; Frame Contemporary Art, Finland; dOCUMENTA (15) (2022); Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, India; Gallery Ark, India; Alliance Française, Pakistan; Chart Art Fair, Denmark; Third Space, Finland; and MAA-Tila Project Space, Finland.