Art by Mira Dayal: Faces in Maps

Mira Dayal is now a second year at Barnard College, and grew up in a wooded suburb of Boston. A few of her favorite things include dogs, beaches, and art.

You can find more of her work on her website.

Image Credit: Mira Dayal
“In the Core” (first published in the Cal Literature & Arts Magazine (CLAM) and {m}aganda magazine)

Mira Dayal first began art classes in high school, focusing on drawing faces and figures. This year, she began a painting class for the first time, which has been for her an interesting digression into color and dimension. She is most interested in portraiture, but all of her work aims to merge experience with representation; this functions in several ways.

She creates the following pieces from maps of cities and states with an attached personal significance; the first was created on a map of San Francisco which the artist had first physically used while visiting California for the first time with her mother, before deciding to spend her first year of college at Berkeley. Before creating the pieces, she first tries to see how the features of the map itself may be conducive to a certain portrait pose; for example, the division between land and water may echo the profile of a face. She then selects one or several portraits that would work well with the map. The drawing is then composed of several layers of in ink that are created by outlining and shading existing regions of the map. The art process of creating a self portrait from a map thus blends with the physicality of using that same map for direction; the artist shapes and is shaped by the place, both artistically and experientially.


Mira is also interested in exploring the ways in which observation of the human body can be merged with its representation on paper. In her figure drawings, she aims to convey the experience of observation through the shaping of the body. Shapes of shadows and light may be disjointed to convey frustration or a sense of dissolution of the figure. Experience and process are similarly merged in the collaborative works she has most enjoyed– most recently the Exquisite Corpse piece she created through Postcrypt at Columbia. In the process, Mira exchanged a single piece with another artist several times in succession, each time covering up the most recent addition to the piece (except for its very edges), so that the act of creation through blind exchange was evident in the finished work. Other artists featured in the exhibition worked with media not typically associated with the Exquisite Corpse process, such as writing and video.


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