Nithiyendran's profile continues to rise and his enigmatic and confrontational sculptural works have struck a powerful chord with audiences worldwide.
Some of Nithiyendran's most ambitious and monumental works to date have been displayed at the National Gallery of Australia in the nation's capital. This followed 2016 selection for the Jakarta Ceramics Biennale, the Adelaide Biennial, and the Kuandu Biennale in Taiwan - a major event aimed at celebrating artists and artwork from across the Asia Pacific region.
For the Kuandu Biennale, ten curators from nine countries were selected to choose one artist with whom they would mount a single major show. The resulting Kuandu Biennale was composed of solo exhibitions from Australia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, and Taiwan. Supported by Asialink Arts, independent Sydney-based curator, writer, and artist Glenn Barkley, teamed with Nithiyendran to present the Australian component of the Biennale.
The theme of the 2016 Kuandu Biennale was 'Slaying the Monster'. Nithiyendran says his works were a literal interpretation of the subject. He calls his creations “monstrous” – melding together human and animal elements and characteristics, and constructed on a larger-than-life-scale. While acknowledging that some find his work overwhelming and sometimes unnerving, Nithiyendran says he is deliberately invoking the violence and chaos of Creation. He’s interested in art in mythical proportions and the inevitability of life and death. The artworks in the Kuandu Biennale not only reflected this theme in their appearance and the stories they held, their fate, explains Nithiyendran, was to be imagined, constructed, viewed, and ultimately recycled and destroyed.
Nithiyendran describes participation in the Kuandu Biennale as a pure “contribution to artistic discourse… nerve-wracking and exciting”. He started with huge slabs of clay, coiling them, rolling them, and mounting them as high as possible in the exhibition space. He then added arms, heads, bodies, nipples, penises, vaginas, breasts – what he describes as “the whole shape of life” and in some ways “a giant self portrait”.
Following the exhibition, Nithiyendran consigned the artworks to the dustbin, thus suggesting a deeper sense of myth and memory in his overall practice.
Nithiyendran is the 2012 recipient of the Freedman Foundation Travelling Art Scholarship, he has been a finalist in the Blake Prize (2013) and the John Fries Award (2014) and was recently awarded the 2014 NSW Visual Arts Fellowship (emerging) administered through Arts NSW. He has exhibited at various spaces including; Firstdraft, UTS Gallery, Alaska Projects, the Perth Institute of Contemporary Art (PICA), UNSW Galleries, Artspace and Canberra Contemporary Art Space. He is also the winner of the Sidney Myer Fund Australian Ceramic Art Award, presented at Shepparton Art Museum (SAM).