Wonder in Sonder


So far the year 2018 has manifested compelling trends of self-expression and empowering movements of speaking out and standing up via social media platforms. My good high school friend, Ilina Bhatia, has chosen to express herself through the language of art. Looking at her works presented at the Sonderii exhibition, she clearly has selected an effective medium. On March 9th, I was part of a group of friends who attended the gallery opening on 164 Orchard Street to support and congratulate Ilina. The doors opened from 6 to 9 in the evening and welcomed in crowds of fellow students and proud parents.

As we passed the entrance, our eyes immediately noticed two compelling pieces placed on the left wall. Dua-lity, a vibrant-colored composition created digitally, featured “the Hindu god Ardhanarisharva, representing the fluidity of gender…” (cited from Ilina’s description). The theme of the piece was depicted through various shades of blue, red, green, yellow, and orange, grabbing the attention and imagination of visitors. Ilina’s description more insight to her culturally inspired creation. 

Her watercolor piece, Once Queens, Now Witches, features four faces combining the foreground with the entire visual space of the canvass. The whimsical theme and the abstractionist features are bursting with contagious energy. To paraphrase Ilina’s caption, her composition was inspired by the powerful women in her life.

Upon admiring these two pieces, we all congratulated her and snapped photos with her.

I simply had to ask Ilina what inspired her pieces. She replied that she gets inspired by: the news, her emotions from current events, personal communication and her friends. My next question was how she got recognized by Sonder. “What began as a fandom edit account on Instagram gained a lot of followers,” she said. She started posting her own art creations more and more and got recognized by the Sonder Instagram account (@sonder.ltd), where she was given the opportunity to showcase her work. 

Sonder (https://www.sonderexhibition.com/ ) is an exhibition with a mission to expose the world to the artistic talents of the younger generation seeing as they do not get their deserved recognition. The exhibition hopes to raise awareness that anyone of any age can be an artist.

In her modesty, Ilina states that her recognition story is silly. I think that a young talent like her would have been ‘discovered’ in any event, yet it is encouraging to experience the positive impact (versus the negative influences) of the social media platforms, particularly for teenagers like us.