Neha Kapil doesn’t remember a single moment or event that triggered her interest in becoming an artist.
“It was always in the cards for me – my calling,” she said.
Kapil graduated from Eden Prairie High School in 2011. Today, she is a professional artist and fashion designer who founded AgniStyle, based in Los Angeles, Calif.
On Sept. 17, she comes home to display her work in the Twin Cities with a solo exhibit, “Renaissance: South Asian Storytelling through Contemporary Art.”
Kapil visited Minnesota recently to plan her event. She talked to EPLN, discussing what inspired her to choose art for her career, and how she is carving a future.
“Every kid has things they like to do, play with toys, go outside or whatever. Mine was always drawing,” she reminisced.
Her first profound memory of drawing and making art, was of her mom taking her to the zoo. She would come back and draw what she saw, pictures of animals.
Kapil attended elementary, junior, and high school in Eden Prairie. In addition to art in school, she also trained with private art coaches for drawing and painting. That groomed her in the theory of drawing, building perspective and techniques on more traditional mediums. She started with pencil and pen and then transitioned to watercolor.
Kapil studied art at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor where she learned how to add concepts to her work. She started to incorporate storytelling to portray social issues that brought more depth into her work.
“You can say things with your art or you can have it as a commentary on any one thing that you’re passionate about,” she said.
As a professional artist, she chose to focus on South Asian culture.
Explaining the exhibition’s name, Renaissance, Kapil said, “I chose that name for technical reasons…my style mimics classical renaissance art movement. But it is also a play on words…knowledge, expertise and talent.”
She found it to be “…synonymous to the experience of being a second-generation immigrant growing up in dual cultures with Eastern roots and Western upbringing,” she said. “No two people have the same relationship with their culture, and how they navigate the experience…possibilities are infinite.”
Kapil worked hard to manage the challenges of fitting in and finding a place in a multicultural society and environment.
And, that is what drove her to become an artist.
She was fortunate to be raised by caring parents, who made her “feel pretty proud of her culture.”
She never went through a phase thinking, “…my Indian-ness was a problem in any way.”
Her art, therefore, truthfully represents her cultural heritage and its history. She wants to create a modern-day version of ancient India, mixing her art with mythology and storytelling.
Now, Kapil is moving towards fashion and concepts such as “Indofuturism.”
“(The) majority of my work for display in Minneapolis are paintings, some are digital works, others are textile designs, framed fabrics,” she said. “Then there are a few mixed media pieces as well.”
Kapil will open the show in person with a reception at 5 p.m. on Sept. 17 at the Ambiente Gallerie in Minneapolis. She will discuss her artwork, followed by food, music, free henna and an exclusive pop-up shop.
Her display runs through November 2021.
Exhibition details are available here.
(Editor’s note: Vijay Dixit is chairman of the Shreya R. Dixit Memorial Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit advocating distraction-free driving. He is also a board member of Eden Prairie Local News, as well as a contributor.)