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”)
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.
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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