Artist Profile: Nika P. Silva

IN HER SATURATED COLLAGES OF EARTH AND SKY, ARTIST NIKA P. SILVA MATCHES SUBJECTS FROM NATURE WITH SUBLIME WASHES OF SUPERNATURAL COLOUR. ZOE ZHENG WRITES.

Nika P. Silva

BEHIND THE PLAYFUL collages, meticulous ink drawings and neon-coloured paintings of Nika P. Silva lies a deep affection for the natural world. According to the artist, her works are underpinned with hope and a mission to elicit change. Through her art, she intends to advocate for the similarity and equality of all lives, emphasising connections rather than differences between humans and other creatures.

“My objective is to create uplifting and thought-provoking work, highlighting the beauty of the world around us, and how vital plants and other animals are to us and to the planet,” she tells Art Edit.

As an emerging talent, Nika is without doubt ambitious – but just two years ago she never imagined herself as an artist. An accident in 2016 brought a turning point for Nika, when she began drawing as part of a recovery practice to increase mobility. The accident was an unexpected trigger, but the seeds of Nika’s artistic career were planted long beforehand. Her interest in art developed well before her school years, when her mother first taught her to draw flowers on bright yellow paper.

Childhood memories have left a mark on Nika’s art. As she recounts the summers spent in her grandparents’ garden and orchards – near tropical rivers and jungles, across deserts, beaches and the backyards full of flora and fauna – she recalls how these experiences fostered her love for all kinds of animals and plants, which became the primary subjects of her works.

From carnivorous genet, innocent bunny, to different species of spiders, butterflies and moths, Nika attempts to capture every precise detail of her subjects through fine-point ink drawings. In strong contrast, these delicate monotone creatures are placed against shallow backgrounds made up of bold colour blocks. Rainbow-like horizon lines divide the spaces of sky and earth. Various rare or endemic plants and flowers – sketched, painted or cut from coloured paper – evenly spread out below or rise from above this dividing space.

Nika has a special obsession with the horizon. In her studio in Abu Dhabi, she looks out over the horizon lines of the Arabian Gulf, which as Nika says “smack me in the eyes and stun me with wonder every single day”. The moments of stillness, staring at the sky and sea, help revitalise Nika’s mind for her artmaking practice. Hidden under her calmness is often an explosion of creativity.

Beyond appreciation and depiction, Nika’s affinity for nature further penetrates her practice through the use of environmental-friendly materials. Nika avoids solvents or turpentine, minimises the use of toxic materials and rejects products made from animals. Instead, she sources off-cuts and reuses, recycles and repurposes wherever possible.

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