Professor of Art
Sarojini Jha Johnson has taught printmaking and foundations at Ball State University since 1985. She grew up in Ohio and earned undergraduate degrees in French and drawing from the University of Cincinnati. She received an MFA in printmaking from Miami University where she began working with animal and plant forms in her prints. Her work places natural forms in a fictional context. Her main medium is color intaglio printmaking, a medium that allows for great creativity and invention in terms of surface and color. She has been exploring memories and impressions of India, her country of origin. Animal images such as fish and birds still emerge in this work. Sarojini also makes artist’s books that present issues such as the effects of climate change on flora and fauna.
In her words, “My family came to the United States from India many years ago. My prints reflect my preoccupation with my knowledge of India as I have experienced it through my journeys there and through stories told by my parents. Certain objects and images are persistent in my mind and are emblematic or evocative of many things, from mundane to sublime. Some of these objects are plants such as datura and images of favorite deities such as Ganesha and Lakshmi. Uproote d people often experience a longing for things that remind them of their former home. This sort of nostalgia or yearning for familiar things, especially food, has been a part of my family’s experience for as long as I can remember. My parents grew exotic vegetables with names I do not even know in English. This amuses and amazes me. I believe that the dialog about culture and nationality is vital and that the visual arts are an important forum for communication of the subtleties and variations of individual viewpoints.”