Communicating Science through Art

“Anything I do should be able to facilitate real progress of the human kind…That is why I consider following science and communicating it as the top most priorities in my life”. Artist, poet, scientist and writer, Krishna Kumari Challa, communicates science through art and literature. In this exclusive interview she discusses her art and work.

Richard Bright: Can we begin with you saying something about your background?

Krishna Kumari Challa: Sure. My educational background and career: I did my M.Sc. in life sciences and Ph.D. in Microbiology. I did post doctoral research for a year and worked in a few projects as a scientist and then also as an Asst. professor in our University colleges.

Now I am a full time science communicator, science coordinator for science-art projects, a guide to science-art students, a consultant and a science-art reviewer and run a science communication and science-art network.

I am also an artist, a designer, a writer, a poet and a social activist. I try to bring together various fields I work in to effectively communicate science as well as to generate harmonious relationships between them.

I am able to do all these things because of full encouragement and support I got from my parents. They gave me their everything to see me reach the intellectual heights I always wanted to reach.

The Fascinating World of Microbes!

Seen only under a microscope

Organisms very small that have many a shape

With the barest necessities without which life cannot cope

And a lot of evolutionary scope!


Most of these tiny creatures are beneficial

Even though a few are harmful

You will not find any other living beings so adaptable

And with all the splendours of nature that are wonderful!


Mysteries of an invisible world

Although living everywhere and all around

Still there are several species to be found

Exhibiting all variations your breath could hold!


Giving the medium they live in interesting colours

Making most intriguing moves

Existing in unlimited droves

This is a fascinating world of microbes!


(Based on my Science-inspired Art work titled “Under the Microscope”)


Krishna Kumari Challa: Under the Microscope

RB: How does science inform your art?

KKC: Most of my art is science-based. As the main purpose of creating my art is science communication, it is science that forms the basic themes. Connecting science to art and literature is not easy in my case. Because science is mainly based on facts and other subjects on fiction, beliefs, personal views, metaphors and intuitions that science finds difficult to accept. It is like a tight rope walk over a deep valley. As I am trained in science, I try my best not to compromise on scientific principles my subject is based on and strictly adhere to its ideals.

I try to create art scientifically too, using longer lasting, non-toxic materials.


Krishna Kumari Challa: Agnipuneeta

Krishna Kumari Challa: Adversities are the machines that polish these gems

Krishna Kumari Challa: Adversities are the machines that polish these gems

Krishna Kumari Challa: Guiding lights

Krishna Kumari Challa: Guiding lights

RB:  Imagery in science is primarily used to communicate findings and, in some sense, can be seen as being both ‘illustrative and ‘provocative’. Would you say that your images are ‘scientific’?


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