In Viraj’s works titled, ‘Public Spirit’, he makes symbolic cultural references from his hometown of Mumbai. In a series of repetitive brush strokes, he references a sea of hanging clothes, a common sight in every Indian middle class society and slum. Raised in a staunch Jain family, he has subtly woven the values taught in the community into his works. He uses symbols from the religious text and patterns as a starting source of reference. He then reinterprets them by using nontraditional mediums like vinyl to reflect on the unconventional ways of living. His use of shiny stickers of vegetables on the watercolors address the increase of packaged food (ready made), the domination of technology, and most importantly, the missing of “first hand experience.” He extracts from his lifestyle as a former student who lived on packaged food. It is interesting to observe the juxtaposition of “plastic age” very rapidly seeping into Indian culture, one that holds such strong tradition.
Viraj attained his BFA in Painting and Printmaking from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL (2015) after completing his Diploma in Studio Art and Visual Communications from University of the Arts London: Chelsea Camberwell and Wimbledon College of Art and Design, London (2012). He has participated in multiple exhibitions. Selected exhibitions include: Decalcomania Fractal: An Ode to Naren, Clark House Initiative, Mumbai, India (2017), Paper to Plastic, Spudnik Press Co-operative, Chicago IL (2017), About and Inbetween, Prak-Sis Gallery, Chicago IL (2016), Indo American Arts Council (IAAC) Exhibition of Contemporary Indian Art of the Diaspora (2015) – Travelling exhibition at: Hammond Museum, North Salem, New York, Williamsburg Art and Historical Centre, Brooklyn, New York, Flushing Town Hall, Flushing, New York and many more. He has also been a part of residencies at Spudnik Press Co-operative, Chicago IL (2016) and Vermont Studio Centre (Merit Scholarship Recipient), Johnson, VT (2015).