Born in 1974 Nikhil Chopra is an artist who has situates himself clearly within the Indian context. In November 2005, Nikhil Chopra placed himself as the character of Sir Raja III in a series of photographs, entitled ‘What will I do with all this land?’, journeying through his vast estate. Sir Raja III is the third in a series of works that explore the theatrics of posing, through tableaux for live performance and film. The narrative around Sir Raja does not refer to any particular place or moment in history, and is woven from personal memory, old family photographs, an ancestral home, and endless stories of the family.
Nikhil, in the guise of his alter ego Sir Raja, while adopting a stereotype of the Indian prince during the colonial era, asks us to grasp the complexity of his photo-performance – of the self on display while enacting another. Though we are seduced by the tableaux the artist creates, gazing upon which we admire, love and worship his beauty and social position, we remain conscious of the farce. By desiring identification with the being that he has created, Nikhil exposes to the viewer the complexity with which we receive and revile icons.
Nikhil has studied at the faculty of Fine Arts, M.S. University, Baroda, Maryland Institute, College of Art, Baltimore (BFA, 2001), Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio (MFA, 2003). The artist lives and works in Mumbai.
Nikhil was artist in residence at Khoj International Artists’ Association in New Delhi for the 2007 Performance Art Residency.