Chitra Ganesh lives and works in Brooklyn. She holds a BA from Brown University in Comparative Literature and Art Semiotics and an MFA from Columbia University. Chitra's drawing-based practice brings to light narrative representations of femininity, sexuality, and power typically absent from canons of literature and art. Her wall installations, comics, charcoal drawings, and mixed media works on paper often take historical and mythic texts as inspiration and points of departure to complicate received ideas of iconic female forms. Her vocabulary draws from surrealism, expressionism, Hindu and Buddhist iconography, and South-Asian pictorial forms such as Kalighat and Madhubani painting, connecting these with contemporary mass-mediated visual languages of comics, science fiction, news photography, and illustration.
Since 2004 Ganesh has collaborated with Mariam Ghani as Index of the Disappeared, an experimental archive of detentions, deportations, and human erasures, as well as a public platform for dialogue on related issues.
Her work as been has been widely exhibited in the United States and internationally at venues including the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; the Asia Society, New York, NY; Queens Museum of Art, NY; the Baltimore Museum of Art, MD; Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA; Berkeley Art Museum, CA, San Jose Museum, CA; ZKM Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, Germany; Fondazione Sandretto re Rebaudengo, Turin, Italy; the Saatchi Museum, London, United Kingdom; Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai, China; Gwangju Contemporary Arts Centre, Gwangju, Korea; National Museum for the Arts, Taiwan; Kunstverein, Göttingen, Germany; Kunstalle Exnergrasse, Vienna; the Prince of Wales Museum, Mumbai; Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno, Spain; and most recently the Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Mumbai. She has had solo presentations at PS 1/MOMA, Brooklyn Museum, Goteborgs Konsthalle, Andy Warhol Museum, and Rubin Museum, .
Ganesh has received awards from the John Simon Guggenheim memorial foundation Fellowship in the Creative Arts, Pollock Krasner Foundation, the Joan Mitchell Foundation, and Art Matters among others. She has been a Hodder Fellow at Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts (2017-18), Robina Foundation Fellow for Arts and Human rights at Yale University Law School (2015-16), US Art in Embassies Program resident in NIROX, South Africa (2015), Estelle Lebowitz Endowed Visiting Artist (2015); Kirloskar Visiting Scholar at RISD (2014), and Artist-in-Residence at New York University’s Asian/Pacific/American Studies Program (2013-14). Her works are held in prominent collections such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Devi Art Foundation, Saatchi Collection, San Jose Museum of Art, Baltimore Museum of Art, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Whitney Museum, and Museum of Modern Art.