Sunandita (Ita) Mehrotra is a creative educator, visual artist and arts researcher. She is currently Director of Artreach India , a leading not for profit working towards transforming the lives of children, young people and women from marginalised communities across India, through art. Ita independently creates non-fiction comics and illustrations for all ages which have been published and exhibited globally (thewire.in , popula.org, Zubaan Books, Goethe Institute, among others). She lives and works in New Delhi, often travelling to remote villages and offbeat towns, to lead and supervise Artreach’s growing programmes.
Ita studied at Mirambika Free Progress school, a pioneering experimental learning space that greatly encouraged holistic child development, learning through the arts and self learning. She has a Bachelors Degree in Philosophy (Hons.) from St.Stephens’ College, Delhi University, from where she was awarded an exchange year at SciencesPo Paris. At SciencesPo, Ita earned a Diploma in French Art History and Culture Studies. She returned to India to pursue a Masters at the School of Culture, Ambedkar University Delhi. After which, Ita completed her MPhil from Arts and Aesthetics School, Jawaharlal Nehru University, with a distinction.
Consistently passionate about art and it’s intersections with social development, Ita has worked with numerous NGOs spearheading positive change (Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Snaghathan, Women’s Feature Service, KHOJ Artists Association, among others) prior to her taking lead of Artreach. At Artreach, Ita is responsible for administering the team (5 core team members + 30 artist educators), supervising all programmes, envisioning growth of the organisation and also leading key programmes herself.
Ita is also currently working towards her first full length graphic novel based on a personal account of a women led peoples movement in India. And when not engaged in work, Ita treks in the high passes of the Himalayas, reads endless graphic novels and creates illustrated stories for friends and family!
Fellowships and Grant Awards
Fumetto Arts Festival– Pro Helvetia (Swiss Arts Council) International Apprenticeship Grant (curating art workshops and festival programmes) 2018, Switzerland
Gender-Bender Fellowship & Exhibition– (Goethe Institute Bangalore + Sandbox Collective), 2018
Young Connectors of the Future Fellowship – Swedish Institute, Stockholm (Creative Social change leadership programme), 2015-16, Sweden
Drawing Attention: Residency for Women Comic Artists – Zubaan Books + Goethe Institute Delhi, Sanskriti Kendra, 2014
Negotiating Routes IV: Ecologies of the Byways – Artist grant fromKHOJ International Artists Association to record histories of Chipko movement, Garhwal , 2013
Artful Challenging: An Interview with Orijit Sen, criticalcollective.com, 2018 (interview article)
Eyes That Follow, popula.com, 2018 (short comics)
Metromorphosis, First Hand 1: Graphic Non-fiction from India, Yoda Press, 2016 (as part of the anthology of comics)
The Poet, Irom, Drawing the Line: Indian Women Fighting Back, Anthology of graphic stories , Zubaan and Goethe Institute Delhi, 2015
A School with A view, Womens Feature Service, 2015 (article on create village school in Garhwal)
Forest Song: Sudesha, A Chipko Story, Booklet, Khoj International Artists Association + Norwegian Embassy Delhi, 2014
Behind the Exotica: Maha Kumbh 2013, Economic And Political Weekly, March, 2013 (an indepth study of the underbelly of the Maha Kumbh)