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ISU integrated visual arts graduate student Rohini Kummitha to share thesis work June 30-July 7 in Design on Main Gallery exhibition

June 25, 2015


Two-dimensional animation production still from "Magic Masala" by Rohini Kummitha.
"Spoons" (digital photograph) by Rohini Kummitha.

AMES, Iowa — Artwork by Rohini Kummitha, an integrated visual arts graduate student at Iowa State University, will be on display June 30 through July 7 at the ISU Design on Main Gallery, 203 Main St. in downtown Ames.

"Magic Masala," Kummitha's Master of Fine Arts thesis show, will open with a public reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 30. The reception will include a cooking demonstration at 6:30 p.m. and an animation film screening at 7 p.m. Exhibition hours will be 4 to 7 p.m. weekdays. Admission is free.

Kummitha's artwork incorporates mixed-media illustrations, digital photography and two-dimensional and stop-motion animation. Her thesis work focuses on the role of food as a cultural signifier and examines current food practices and consumption rituals from the perspective of an Indian immigrant living in the United States.

"Though my work is centered on my personal experiences, memories and imagination, I also reflect on wider global issues. I am interested in the concepts of belonging, cultural differences and assimilation, the impact of globalization and issues regarding identity. I draw inspiration from both Eastern ideals and American values," Kummitha said.

"My work becomes a passage for me, to take my viewers to the liminal space I constantly navigate, the world intertwining East and West, India and America, home and home away from home—the world where fantasy and reality blend, where the tensions between familiar and unfamiliar, past and present, old and new, evoke a sense of nostalgia, wonder and whimsy."

Kummitha received a Bachelor of Technology degree in mechanical engineering from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad, India, in 2006. She worked as a software engineer and technical analyst for Infosys Technologies Ltd. in Hyderabad from 2006 to 2009 and began her graduate studies at Iowa State in 2011.

Kummitha received a Focus Grant from Iowa State in 2012 for a digital photography series titled "Whimsical Mirages." Her work was displayed in the Art Takes Times Square digital exhibition in New York City in 2012; it won honorable mentions in the Advertising/Self-Promotion, People/Portrait and Travel/Tourism categories of the 2012 International Photography Awards and in the 3x3 Illustration Show 2014. Her work also was a runner-up in the Fine Arts category of Creative Quarterly 37 and won second place in the Fine Art/Collage Non-Professional category of the 2014 International Photography Awards.

Kummitha will graduate with an MFA in integrated visual arts from ISU in August.

Rohini Kummitha, Integrated Visual Arts, (515) 708-2717,
Heather Sauer, Design Communications, (515) 294-9289,