Let there be light: Akshita Gandhi uses lightboxes to make attractive art and tell some profound stories

Alisha Shinde
Sunday, 5 April 2020

Mumbai-based Akshita Gandhi, a multi-disciplinary artist, wants to bring about societal change by highlighting issues through her art in the most beautiful way possible.

Art is an integral part of any culture. Many a time, art helps to draw society’s attention to a certain cause or issue. Mumbai-based Akshita Gandhi, a multi-disciplinary artist, wants to bring about societal change by highlighting issues through her art in the most beautiful way possible. Gandhi not only wants to create artistic pieces that can decorate walls but also offer an extraordinary experience to the viewer.

Gandhi, who has exhibited her art globally, makes use of techniques like mixed media. Her work is accompanied by a small sonnet, portraying the real meaning behind the exquisite art. She is said to be the first Indian artist to establish the concept of lightboxes, an attractive medium to articulate the emotions of her artwork effectually.

Telling a story
Gandhi says that artists can tell a story through visual media. But this requires immense creativity and a sense of aesthetics, style and emotional intelligence. “It is not only about how good a canvas looks but what it depicts,” she says. 

Pioneering the lightboxes, Gandhi found a way to narrate her thoughts through them. She wanted her artwork to have its bold voice and be more than just a decorative piece on the wall. She showcased her lightboxes at New York Fashion Week and Miami in 2019 and now has brought the concept to India, titled I Read Banned Books.

A new beginning
Talking about why she settled for this medium, the young artist points out that the concept came to her with the thought that light signifies a new beginning. “It happened very naturally, and I remembered that when God had created everything he said, ‘Let there be light’ which is about new things in life, and like the light at the end of the tunnels of prejudice, hatred, racism, misogyny and other ill practices, it is an important medium and a positive one,” she says.

The lightbox
The lightbox is a stand-alone piece of art that illuminates and affects the space it exists in and narrates an experience, visually and emotionally. “The art piece has a dual aesthetic sense to it. Without the light, it is a regular canvas, but the magic happens when the light is switched on since it illuminates the artwork and the viewer has the extraordinary experience,” says Gandhi. 

Think of change
“Art is a vehicle of social change today, and amidst the external chaotic insanity, I wanted to bring in tranquillity and optimism. I also wanted my pieces to play a fundamental role in spreading awareness and serve as a constant reminder that the real change needs to come from within, only then can we make this world a better place to live in,” says the youngster.

Gandhi points out that art is the right medium to get people to start thinking about what needs to be changed and do it effectively; keeping this in mind art is always evolving and so is the artist. As an artist, she wants to use this creativity to share the message of social change for a more significant impact.

Creating an impact
Talking about the process for creating lightboxes, Gandhi explains that it started with photographs that she had clicked. “These photographs were then printed on canvas, worked over with acrylic paint, and the end result was converted into acrylic sheets, mounted on a thin frame backed with lights,” she says.

Though made of canvas, the lightbox weighs only one-fourth of what regular canvases weigh.

Gandhi strongly believes that adding light to her work makes a profound impact on viewers and highlights the message of social change that she puts across through her art.

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