Beyond the Bio: Manik Raj Nakra

Beyond the Bio is a series that takes you past the canvas and into the minds of the artists and curators who build the contemporary arts community.

Name: Manik Raj Nakra

Primary Medium: Myth, Paranoia, and Man-eaters

What motivates your work?

Pre-CGI horror flicks, Pompeii, Paul Gauguin, ancient India.

Why painting?

No comment.

How long have you been an artist and how has your practice changed over time?

I had my first art show in 2nd grade when I made drawings of monsters for show & tell and hung them up in the hallway. Kids got scared and they had to be taken down. Hopefully my approach to art hasn’t changed much since.

What are you working on right now?

No comment.

What does the Austin arts community need most as the city continues to grow?

Less art that inspires selfies. I simply can’t stress that enough.


Manik Raj Nakra is an artist living in Austin, TX. His paintings, drawings, and installations take on the possibility of addressing the ancient world as his own. Nakra’s work applies a contemporary lens onto post-colonial anachronisms, Indian iconography, artifacts from early civilizations, religious myths and folklore in order to explore themes such as egoism, lust, and self-doubt. These themes, handled with wild colors, stark compositions, and “pop” sensibilities, illuminate the historically rooted, but contemporarily relevant narratives, paranoia, and dreams of his time and place.

He’s got a few things coming out the kitchen this fall – he’s designing a sarcophagus someone will actually be buried in, an art installation at Hotel Saint Cecilia, and an art show in Dallas.

Keep up with Manik on his website and Instagram.

Beyond the Bio is curated by Art Alliance Austin. If you’re interested in being featured email Ashlee at apryor@artallianceaustin.org.