College of Liberal Arts | Spring 2021

Meet Emerging Voice Award honoree Ina Kaur

While accepting a 2018 Emerging Voice Award from her alma mater, Ina Kaur said her most recent art project came to mind.

Kaur (MFA, 2007, fine arts) tied the themes she explored in that project, titled “Remains,” to the nostalgic feelings she experienced after learning she was among four distinguished young alumni whom Purdue’s College of Liberal Arts planned to honor in September.

“The work started as a reflection on the idea of loss. Loss of connection with people and places. Loss because of the distance and time,” Kaur said. “But this project, ‘Remains,’ also allowed for the space to not just remember what is lost or left behind, but to shifting my perception. It allowed for the new perspectives to focus on what remained, what remains. Nurturing the past experiences and memories and space to contemplate and celebrate, this project is a reminder of what I am holding onto.”

What the mixed-media artist and teacher holds onto from her time at Purdue are the friendships, supportive teaching, and mentoring that helped her flourish in many special ways.

“I was focused when I joined Purdue, but Purdue taught me how to find my context and place in this large, huge world of fine art in academia,” Kaur said. “It informed who I am today as a practitioner and as an educator.”

Kaur’s work as an artist has taken her around the globe in the last year, including exhibitions in the United States, Germany, India, Spain, and France. Her artwork generally explores themes of identity – including how history, society, and culture influence its development.

“My works in general are very philosophical in nature,” Kaur said. “It confronts contradictions and oppositions and challenges one’s compulsions and biases to go beyond the self. My work brings together the idea of our complex, yet basic, need to coexist. Abstracting and simplifying vague rudimentary forms allows me to transition between the tangible and intangible concepts.”

While establishing herself as an artist, Kaur has also taught at several different universities, including Purdue. After additional stops at Bowling Green State University and Tampa University, Kaur now works in her native India, overseeing the master’s program for the Contemporary Art Practice Department at Srishti Institute of Art Design and Technology in Bangalore.

Her work has taken her thousands of miles from the Purdue campus, but Kaur carries the Boilermaker experience with her wherever she teaches or shows off her latest project. She said her new EVA award serves as a tangible reminder to continue creating, learning, and exchanging ideas.

“It really is humbling to be recognized for what you love to do,” Kaur said. “I hope to be able to continue doing what excites me.”