Shine Shivan was born in Kerala in 1980. Growing up in the lush landscape of his hometown of Kulananda, he developed a fondness for woods and found himself frequenting a nearby forest even after his family moved to Faridabad, Haryana. The forest has since been a timeless source of inspiration for him. This is evidenced in his artistic practice as well, where he has instinctively used organic materials like deer feces, chicken heads, feathers and raw bones. Employing these, he has created sensual sculptural pieces such as Rape of Ganymede (2009), which superbly combined a phallic symbol with metaphors referencing the eponymous myth to evoke of themes of gender binaries.
An exploration of gender issues lies at the core of Shivan’s artistic engagement. We encounter this in his series, Glimpse of Thirst (2013), where he has skillfully assembled fantastical forms using clusters of maddening eyes, exposed gums and teeth, fountains of hair and skeletal figures. These forms are shown cross-dressing and role-playing - evading gender categorization - to raise questions on the conflict-ridden roles of gender.
Apart from his thought provoking installations, Shivan is known for his unrestrained drawings, such as those seen in his experimental solo Language of Deceased (2015), where he transformed the white cube into an open studio and painted on paper and canvas for seven weeks straight. The result was dark, disquieting works – both small and monumental – that touched upon themes of the body and identity.
In just over a decade, Shivan has created a highly personal artistic language to articulate his charged ideas. His exciting oeuvre, also comprising photography, video and performance, is characterized by raw energy and dynamism, reflective of his own personality. For him, nothing is too provocative or out-of-bounds. He has, in the past, used taxidermy extensively in his practice and in his recent series, Artha Yatra, introduced a new idiom in drawing by using cactus pins and natural pigments to create massive works that are finer than etchings. In this way, Shivan has constantly been engaged in pushing the limits of visual art, creating innovative works that evoke curiosity, wonder and above all follow the logic of his heart.
Shivan works have been exhibited extensively across the world including at the Tate Modern, London, UK; MOCA Taipei, Taiwan; Prague Biennale 5; and Kastrupgardsamlingen, Copenhagen, Denmark. He attained a B.F.A. from the College of Arts, Delhi, and went on to do his M.V.A. from Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar University, Agra. India. He now lives and work between Kochi and Faridabad.