Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran

Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran (b. 1988)

Sri Lankan-born, Sydney-based artist Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran creates rough-edged, vibrant, new-age idols that are at once enticing and disquieting. He experiments with form and scale in the context of figurative sculpture to explore politics of sex, the monument, gender and organised religion. He capitalises upon the symbolism of clay as fundamental corporeal matter. Formally trained in painting and drawing his practice has a sculptural emphasis which champions the physicality of art making. These works are often stacked to form totems or perched atop customised plinths. While proceeding from a confident atheist perspective, Nithiyendran draws upon his Hindu and Christian heritage as reference points as well as a large range of sources including the internet, pornography, fashion and art history. Self-portraits make frequent appearances and the dual presence of male and female organs suggest gender fluid realms of new possibilities. 

Recent solo presentations include Dhaka Art SummitDhaka, Bangladesh (2018) and Encounters, Art Basel Hong Kong 2018, Hong Kong (2018). In 2016 Nithiyendran exhibited Mud Men at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. At the time he was the youngest artist in the NGA’s history to have a solo exhibition at the gallery. In the same year his solo exhibition, In The Beginning, was presented at the Ian Potter Museum of Art, Melbourne.

Nithiyendran has exhibited in Slaying Monsters: Kuandu Biennale, Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts, Taipei, 2017; The National, Carriageworks, 2017; Magic Object: 2016 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide 2016. In 2015, he was the winner of the 2015 Sidney Myer Fund Australian Ceramic Award, Australia’s richest and premier award for artists working in the medium of ceramics.In 2014, Nithiyendran was awarded the 2014 NSW Visual Arts Fellowship (emerging) administered through Artspace and Arts NSW. He has also exhibited at the Shepparton Art Museum, Firstdraft, UTS Gallery, Alaska Projects, The Perth Institute of Contemporary Art, Casula Powerhouse, Artspace and Canberra Contemporary Art Space. He has been a finalist in the Blake Prize (2013) and the John Fries Award (2014).  

Nithiyendran’s work is held in various collections, including the National Gallery of Australia, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Art Gallery of South Australia, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Ian Potter Museum of Art and the Shepparton Art Museum. 

Nithiyendran holds a BA(UNSW), BFA (Hons. Class 1) and a Master of Fine Arts (research) from UNSW Art & Design. He has acquired various grants including the Freedman Foundation Travelling Art Scholarship, Artstart, The City of Sydney’s William Street Creative Tenancy, the Australian Artist’s Grant (NAVA), a travel grant from The Ian Potter Cultural Trust and an Australian Postgraduate Award.

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