Ruhee Maknojia is a New York and Houston based artist. Her conceptual research and art practice has developed around what she calls ‘tradition as a form’- those forces and functions that shape contemporary value systems. Maknojia work is influenced by the aesthetics and philosophies of Indo-Iranian Mughal gardens. She utilizes this philosophical belief and aesthetic to realigning social and traditional relations to raise questions about power, ethics, and values.
Historically, Mughal gardens are known as four-walled intramural spaces often found in present-day India, Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan. These gardens symbolize places of relaxation and peace regarding paradise on earth, while everything outside the garden walls represents chaos and violence.
Maknojia’s work and research echo the philosophy and traditional aesthetics of the Mughal Gardens. Her art seeks to carve out illumination and peace in the milieu of violence and chaos by questioning what it means to open the gates between the internal space of serenity and an external world of disorder. Her art is continuously shaped and reshaped by the perforation of exoteric problems into an area of esoteric “perfection.” She uses patterns and repetition to seek beauty in abstract spaces of violence. Making, building, and creating is her act of protest against those forces that seek to permeate hate, violence, extremism, and fundamentalism by infiltrating spaces of civil society. Maknojia’s engagements translate into installations, paintings, videos, drawings, printmaking, and writing.
Select exhibitions include The Happiness Curriculum, Eastern Connecticut State University Gallery, Connecticut U.S.A. (2019); Harlem Perspectives II, Faction Art Projects Gallery, New York City (2019); Feel That Other Day Running Underneath This One, Time Square Space, New York City (2018), 42/18, LeRoy Neiman Gallery, New York City (2018)
Maknojia received her M.F.A. in Visual Arts from Columbia University in New York City, a B.A. in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Texas at Austin, and a B.A. in Studio Art from the University of Texas at Austin.