Interview - Ruhee Maknojia

Ruhee Maknojia was born in Houston, TX in 1993, to an Pakistani mother and Indian father. She grew up in North Houston and Spring, TX in a racially diverse neighborhood Ruhee received her M.F.A. in Visual Arts from Columbia University, and a B.A. in Middle Eastern Studies and B.A. in Studio Art from the University of Texas at Austin. Ruhee became a full-time artist upon graduation in 2019. 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. Ruhee’s 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. Her art seeks to carve out illumination and peace in the milieu of 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 distress. Making, building, and creating is her method to understand, preserve, and build upon spaces of civil society. Maknojia’s engagements translate into installations, paintings, videos, drawings, printmaking, and writing. Ruhee’s works have been exhibited in New York City, Houston, Connecticut, Austin in the US, and Aix-en-Provence in France. Ruhee lives and works based in Houston.

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