Skip to main content
Fashion (MA)

Niharika Kumar

Niharika is a Visual Artist from India, currently based in London. Having worked a long stint as a designer within the "Fashion-Industry", she finally takes a pause. She feels "a distance between herself and fashion. Apart from the various socio-ecological factors being the reason, there is something more personal this time. It doesn't give her peace.

After years of struggling with mental health, she finds herself in a strange place of conflict between her and her mind. She uses these situations of conflict to resonate her emotions through performance, films, costumes, spoken words, music and spaces.

Art of Story-telling and Theatre is her found passion. She uses her skills as a designer to break free into the realms of everything fashion but not fashion at the same time. The nuances, she says are fashion. The person still belongs to fashion. The texture of her voice changes, the direction of her voice changes and peace she gets.

"I love creating experiences, My homeland and my personal life will always be the core of my ideas."

Niharika Kumar

My practice is an interaction of my heritage, ethics and identity with my emotions.

My persona collides, overlaps, intersects and in some places completely disjoints with my sanity. Growing up struggling with various mental health challenges, I have devised methods to cope with phases of difficulties.

The thought behind my work is purely choreographed by the simplicity with which my mind bends me to a fluid, safe and familiar space. I always felt that my mind has a voice of its own, always commanding and orchestrating and taking over. I have now developed rituals to live with it. I too have a voice. 

My mind's definitely stronger, even more than my physical self. Subconsciously, I have learnt to swim across a day with the help of certain rituals. Ones that are set by my mind to stay grounded.

The many areas of my work are led by a path that is inbred with my values but driven by my emotions. I have been mapping these patterns, routes and directions. Each area of work, like patterns, worlds, systems, rituals, objects, memorabilia, tapestries, weaves and more soaks from this pool of research but will never have power over my mind. Ultimately, it is how my mind acts and puts any of this together. An order that’s like a workout to relieve me of the shambles. 

I use my memories and narrate situations that are real conversations between me and my mind (the super-ego) that help me recreate moments of my life in front of an audience. While it heals me in a therapeutic way, it helps the audience step into their vulnerabilities. All in an effort to build a world for people to enter and interact with. I aim to help people who struggle to express themselves. 

I hence, dare to step out of my comfort and put all of me out. For you to see, judge and connect with. It’s an open welcome inside the world of Niharika.

The Costume- A 16 kg Tapestry of Memories
Image of a theatre performance
A glimpse from 'I See a Room, Ver: Mind's Wardrobe' at The Gorvy Theatre, Battersea

How a thought from one of my previous dialogues with my mind led to the inception of a tapestry.

In the depths of her mind, she embarked on a journey through the tapestry of memories. She returned to her childhood home, where the air carried the answers. The tapestry unfolded before her, a blanket of emotions. As she touched each thread, the weight of her experiences surprised her. She still carries them.

It was neither burdensome nor light but carried a presence that reminded her of the gravity of her experiences. It seemed to carry the weight of her triumphs and failures, her moments of strength and vulnerability, grounding her in the reality of her own journey.

Can It be created for the audience to take a step closer to my world? Perhaps to touch and feel it?

A quick glimpse at my most recent memories that I collected from my home, a film and experiments all with my Tapestry of Memories.

Set amidst mundane scenarios where I exist on normal days. When I am ‘active’ when I am ‘functional’ or when it seems so.

A conflict between the real self and the facade. A glimpse of what it is to be Niharika when she is existing and just being with her mind. The image of herself is visible to the mortals. The flashes of her, when she is clad in the tapestry, bear the weight of all memories that together she has lived with her mind.

Where mortals glimpse but fragments she's displayed,

She dances on the edge of self and shows when mind and spirit meet at will,

The visage fades, the mask falls gently apart,

Revealing depths,

Within her mind, a tapestry, Where memories entwine,

Each thread is a journey lived, a tale untold, a glimpse of her truth.

Film Strip
An experiment, exploring the movements evoked with each emotion when clad in the tapestry. It is a tool that helps shape future performances and completely be a part of what I create.
The Poster
A poster depicting the transitions of all emotions within a moment of my life.
Mind Map
A mapping of emotional transitions within my mind.
Lady of Shallot
Lady of Shallot, by William Holman Hunt
Sounds of my Memories
Textures of my Memories
A Performative Film
Launch Project
Mirror-Mirror, Let's Map my Mind A Film and Performance
dressing my mind
Launch Project
Dressing my MindA Film
Come Dress my Mind
Launch Project
Come Dress my Mind | (Live)A Performance and Dialogue
A performance
Launch Project
I See a Room | (Live) at The Gorvy TheatreA Performance and Dialogue