Manisha AR

A storyteller interested in writing about education, identity, art and culture.

Photo by Karan Ajith Kumar

About Me

Writes about diaspora identity and its influence on art making.

She is currently an art critic for Design Pataki, storyteller and creative consultant at the Neu Lithium, teaching Spanish to elementary school children in Bangalore while researching tropes and stereotypes in contemporary travel writing through Carry On.

How I Work

Interested in sharing affirmative experiences of the diaspora community and immigrants, her narratives aim to empower and represent. When she is not writing, she is working with audio and publication design. By playing with form and the order in which a reader receives their information, she is working to establish a sensory connection between readers and written text whether its online or in physical form.

Independent Projects

The Food Web Series with food writer Shivani Unakar 

Invisible Visible: Poetry Collection with photographer, activist and art therapist Farah Salem 

Remnants/Remanence with new media artist and professor Ziv Ze'ev Cohen 

Alternating Currents, a collaborative essay with digital artist Anneli Goeller 

Photo by Karan Ajith Kumar

Get in Touch

  1. If you are a diaspora artists and/or work in new media or performance art, you can email me press releases related to openings and upcoming work on mrita[at]saic[dot]edu.
  2. Currently not taking any writing/editing clients. Check back for updates! 
  3. Social media handles on the top right.
  4. If you use any of the images of me from this website, please credit the photographer Karan Ajith Kumar.

Talk to you soon! 

My Writing

Filters & Sorting

Anonymity, Art, And Socio-Political Commentary - Talks To Street Artist Tyler, Dubbed ‘Mumbai’s Banksy’

Street artist Tyler’s solo exhibition opened at Method Gallery earlier this month as part of Mumbai Gallery Weekend. While the Gallery Weekend may be over, the show is still on view across two venues in Bandra and Kala Ghoda. An unexpected plus is that Tyler has painted over the shutter of Method Contemporary Art and Treats, Bandra so viewers can get a taste of his exhibition even when it is closed. The event received a lot of coverage over social media, a tool that has been pivotal in his incre

Art and Investigation

The installation “70 Days Behind Inventory” is a jigsaw puzzle of brown and beige vinyl tiles arranged on a raised wooden platform to represent the floor from a corner store in Miami’s Liberty City neighborhood. The floor is stained and the image of what appears to be a beverage can is printed on the tiles. A yellow bulb overhead creates a pool of light in the center of this piece by multidisciplinary artist Shadi Habib Allah. This 750-square-foot installation is part of an exhibit entitled “Put

Chila Kumari Singh Takes Over Tate Britain With ‘Remembering A Brave New World’

Last year we saw the festival of lights take center stage in various museum and gallery programming events, including at the Tate Britain that inaugurated its Winter Commission that was given to Chila Kumari Singh Burman in 2020. The show opened on Diwali weekend in November which according to her was a complete coincidence. Design Pataki spoke with iconic British artist about the opportunity to remake the facade of Tate Britain, South Asian identity and what it takes to have an art career that

Dance Movements And Light Photography Come Together With Bhangra Lexicon: A Conversation With Hardeep Sahota And Tim Smith

British dancer and founder of World Bhangra Day Hardeep Sahota collaborated with Bradford-based photographer and researcher for ‘Bhangra Lexicon’ at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Together they created a visual dictionary that records, in long-exposure photographs, over 300 ephemeral body movements and gestures associated with traditional dance forms like Bhangra, Kathak, breakdancing, and Irish dancing. For each image, a dancer performs a move while holding coloured lights in semi-darkness, so t

French Artist Edith Meusnier On How She Creates Sustainable Textile Art

Experiencing the work of French artist Edith Meusnier is like walking through an enchanted environment. There is beauty all around us but how often do we stop to take it all. Meusnier’s work urges viewers to pause and examine the expansiveness of the world around us. This lockdown in particular has made us all acutely aware of the need to take breaks and pay close attention to people and places close in location to us. With her textile interventions, Meusnier is able to foreground nature while c

It's Time to Retire the Quirky Best Friend Trope

In season four, episode 12 of Schitt’s Creek, Moira Rose (Catherine O’Hara) is seen pacing the room as she waits for Roland Schitt to show up at the hospital for his wife Jocelyn (Jenn Robertson) who is going into labor. In a scene that is meant to be about Jocelyn, Moira swoops in and confides in her the fear of her daughter’s failure. Instead of dismissing her for turning a crucial moment in someone else’s life about herself, Jocelyn offers Moira advice. As is typical for protagonists to do, M

Learning from Chicago Artists Coalition’s Equity Listening Sessions

**Disclaimer: The inclusion of race is not intended to be derogatory. Including the racial demographics in this story is a part of understanding who is involved and impacted by these discussions around racial equity. ** “It’s a challenge to get people to actually talk about racial equity. I don’t know if it’s because people in the room don’t know each other, there isn’t that level of trust, of knowing people and feeling comfortable that they will really speak openly what they feel or think,” Ch

Letter to the reader: A Yolk, Suspended – Chicago Artist Writers

I went to a performative dinner hosted at Annas on August 1, 2019. I paid $17.00 for the ticket to eat art and food in the gallery space in East Pilsen. Even though it had a dinner component, I wasn’t expecting a lot from the food because the emphasis in the description was on the interaction between strangers and loss rather than on the culinary experience. I was, however, looking forward to the performance itself by the artists Caroline Dahlberg, Mariel Harari, Azalea Henderson, and Maggie Won

Making Space For Cultural Identity: A Conversation With Sound Artist Lakshmi Ramgopal

As a way of maintaining ties to her Indian cultural heritage, Lakshmi Ramgopal started learning Carnatic music and the classical dance form Bharatanatyam when she was in elementary school. This wasn’t easy considering her home was one of many in suburban Boston which was predominantly white and so she often found herself at cultural crossroads. In addition to being a sound artist under the moniker of Lykanthea, Ramgopal is also a historian of the Roman Empire and currently teaches as Assistant P

Mixed Media and Clear Messaging

Ditching the usual museum opening wine and cheese platter soirée for food trucks and live music, the Smart Museum of Art hosted a summer cookout earlier this month in conjunction with the opening of its new exhibit with the National Museum of Mexican Art, “Cross Currents / Intercambio Cultural.” Featuring tacos, alcohol, and (((SONORAMA))), a Chicago based DJ collective known to spin classic Latin tunes, it was the perfect summer day to host an outdoor event. The reception, on the lawn outside t

NFTs and Cryptocurrencies In The Art World - A New Transactional Reality?

When this story was first commissioned two weeks ago, it was about whether NFTs or non-fungible tokens as an art investment were here to stay. Looking back, that is no longer the question because since then (in addition to Beeple and Grimes), Damien Hirst jumped on the bandwagon, music artists like Deadmau5, Kings of Leon and even food companies like Pringles minted their own NFTs. To add to that growing list, last Friday morning, cultural icon M.I.A announced, on her Instagram story, the mintin


The South Side, which has a rich history of contributions to the visual arts, has been gaining recognition in recent years for its experimental, emerging, and DIY-style of artists and art making. Often bringing lesser known artists and styles into the fray, these new spaces challenge traditional notions of what a gallery is with their wide-ranging programming, choice of artists, and remarkable use of space. For this piece, the Weekly visited and spoke to a selection of makers and art spaces spre

Renowned Gallerist Sundaram Tagore On Buying Art In A Virtual Art World

Sundaram Tagore describes his work as the facilitation of arts between cultures. Born in Calcutta, brought up in various parts of North India, educated at Oxford (plus the United States) and having lived in Singapore, it should come as no surprise that he has opened galleries in four different time zones. Sundaram Tagore galleries are located in Hong Kong, Singapore, New York and as of this year in London as well. There is a strong inclination towards cultural exchange with an international pers

Robert Walton “Exhuming Johnny” at the Chicago Cultural Center – Chicago Artist Writers

The following is a review of Exhuming Johnny, devised and created by Robert Walton and Company was shown at the Chicago Cultural Center on April 19, 20 and 21, 2019. It was one of nine performances commissioned as part of the Goat Island archive-we have discovered the performance by making it. A work in progress of this performance was presented on February 21, 2019 at the Hyde Park Arts Center as part of the IN>TIME festival. Over the course of 90 minutes using video, live and recorded sound a

Sunny With A Chance Of Seaside - A Modern Home Makeover in Chennai

A few blocks away from the beach sits a sunny duplex apartment on Seaward Road in Chennai. Given its proximity to the water and distance from the busy city, the flat enjoys a lot of natural sunlight and greenery. Styled by Chennai-based interior designer and architect Gowri Adappa, the apartment feels like a haven in the sweltering summers of Chennai. From unexpected pops of color to earth tones mixed in with coastal textures, Adappa’s home makeover is a modern twist on a traditional canvas. “Th

Take A Journey With Artists Mohini Chandra And Serena Chopra

If your eyes have become exhausted from shifting between emails, video calls and streaming platforms, we have a treat for you. Browse through some serene landscapes, compelling portraiture and versatile textures to fulfil the fernweh you’ve been collecting from staying indoors. These photographs serve as a segue into larger issues that each of the makers is developing into larger bodies of work around identity and landscapes.New Delhi-based travel photographer , has done extensive work documenti

The Relevance Of Meme Accounts In An Increasingly Virtual Art World

“Humour makes criticism less confrontational and more constructive,” the creator of the popular meme account Freeze Magazine tells Design Pataki. Constantly straddling the line between decline and revival, art criticism is constantly being pushed out of mainstream journalism and into alternative and independent forms. Often competing for attention and readership with social media platforms, Yelp and Youtube reviews, it can seem almost impossible to imagine someone sitting down to read an 800 or

Three Art Heist Films Based On Real Life Art Thefts

Art heists make for intriguing and thrilling action sequences. A particularly striking sequence that has become timeless is that of Catherine Zeta-Jones making her way– with swiftness and agility– through laser motion detector beams to steal a valuable Chinese mask in the movie Entrapment (1999). Another one from more recent times is the opening sequence of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2018) where Michael B Jordan poisons the museum representative’s coffee before stealing a vibranium pickaxe
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