Lene Makwana

Construction 43, 2021

77 × 116 cm
My art explores the diversity of self, created from my living between three very different cultures; I am Norwegian, and I live in Australia with my Indian husband. I have encountered differences and similarities between the three cultures, and I’m inspired by how my sense of self has grown or been challenged being a part of them. The “Construction” series will be completed upon finishing 100 pieces and started in 2015. I discovered that non-figurative elements gave me more freedom to wider explore my compositions and subject matter than what figurative elements did. I set out on the journey of the “Construction” series at a time in my life that I struggled to find my place in the world a few years after moving to a new country, and when I experienced anxiety in approaching the human figure in my work, in fear of not “getting it right”. It had been nearly a year since my last painting and inspired by Takahiro Kimura’s “1,000 Broken Faces” I set out to document and somewhat organise my multicultural journey. My pivot from figurative to non-figurative imagery also meant that I had to let go of my own perception of myself as an artist. Through my education I’d focused on the female figure and portraits as my subject matter, and my need to let go of this to be able to keep creating art was challenging but ultimately the only way for me to achieve artistic freedom. My work with diptychs is significant to my practice as it addresses the falling “in between” various cultures. While most diptychs are mirrored and symmetric, they are never identical to its opposite. With these compositions I convey my own search for balance and order.
My Scandinavian background has impacted my work in terms of balanced and clean compositions, and limited colour palettes.
Lene Makwana is a Western Australian visual artist originally from Norway. She’s a mixed media artist working with watercolours, collages and drawings, focusing on meticulously laid out compositions of patterns and grids, carefully balancing colour palettes to achieve the wanted tension between stable and dynamic elements, ultimately balancing each other. She mostly works with non-figurative art and explores compositions as reflections on personal and cultural identity, and the “Construction” series is an on-going body of work of watercolour and mixed media paintings that is a reflection on the artists’ own multicultural journey. She migrated to Australia in 2012 and recently received her Australian citizenship and is currently working as an in-house graphic designer at illuminance Solutions, a Microsoft Gold Partner company. She studied Diploma in Fine Arts, Art Theory and Art History at Einar Granum School of Fine Arts in Oslo (2003-2005); Diploma in Illustration at Kristiania University College in Oslo (2010-1012); and BA Photography and Illustration Design from Curtin University of Technology in Perth, Western Australia (2012-2013.) She exhibited at Jehangir Art Gallery in Mumbai in November 2018 under the Festival of Australia in India 2018 – 2019 banner to showcase WA contemporary art during the festival. There she exhibited the first twenty works of the “Construction” series. Her most recent exhibition was in March 2020 that was showcased at Piramal Art Gallery in Mumbai. Dr Mukesh Batra and Lene got invited by Tourism Western Australia to travel to various destinations in WA. The research and impressions they gathered created the grounds for the collaboration exhibition: An Aussie Dream, with photos by Dr Batra and abstracted landscape paintings by Lene. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak the same did not go back to WA as intended.

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