Nirmal Raja is an interdisciplinary artist living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She had lived in India, South Korea and Hong Kong before immigrating to the United States thirty years ago. She holds a BA in English Literature from St. Francis College in Hyderabad, India; a BFA from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design and an MFA from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. She has participated in solo and group shows in the Midwest, nationally and internationally.

She is the recipient of several awards including “Graduate of The Decade” from University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. Raja received the Mary L. Nohl Fellowship for individual artists for the year 2020-21 and the Mildred Harpole Artists of the Year 2022 award from the Milwaukee Arts Board. She collaborates with other artists and strongly believes in investing energy into her immediate community while also considering the global. She curates exhibitions that bring people from different cultures and backgrounds together. She was a mentor at RedLine Milwaukee, a community arts incubator for six years and has been a mentor for the Milwaukee Artists Resource Network for the last 7 years.

Mediums: Drawing, fibers, sculpture, video, printmaking, performance photography, painting
Favorite Artist Tool: Needle
Go-to Local Inspiration: Lake Michigan
Mentee Compliment: Amal is thoughtful, deliberate, and focused in implementing her strong ideas. She has a great career ahead of her!
Fun Fact: I made my own paintbrush when I was 8.
Serious Fact: I never forget that my time here is brief.

Artist Statement

A body and a geographic place that is transient and objects that change meaning with context and notions of memory, loss, and wonder are consistent experiences for an immigrant. I transform these felt experiences, giving form while framing them within the mundane and political landscape. I choose materials and processes intuitively, drawing from objects and imagery that have dual cultural and personal significance. I acknowledge these materials as migratory receptacles and transform them into interculturally resonant artwork. My practice is grounded in an intersectional feminist voice that refuses to be defined by the Western orientalist eye.