Born in Shillong, Sonal Jain lives and works in Guwahati/Shillong. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Maharaja Sayajirao University, Baroda.
In 2004 she set up Desire Machine Collective with Mriganka Madhukaillya. Assuming its name and theoretical disposition from Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, by Deleuze and Guattari, Desire Machine Collective seeks to disrupt the neurotic symptoms that arise from constricting capitalist structures with healthier, schizophrenic cultural flows of desire and information. They employ film, video, photography, and multimedia installation in their works.
In 2007, Sonal co-initiated Periferry, an alternative artist-led space situated on the M. V. Chandardinga, a ferry docked on the Brahmaputra River in Guwahati. Her work has been shown at a number of group exhibitions including ‘Everyone Agrees: It’s About to Explode’ at the 54th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale, India Pavilion, Venice (2011); Indian Highway IV, MAC Musée d’Art Contemporain de Lyon and Indian Highway V, MAXXI Museo Nazionale delle Arti del XXI Secolo, Rome (2011); Deutsche Guggenheim Museum, Berlin (2010); Solomon Guggenheim Museum New York (2012), Intense Proximity, the 3rd edition of the La Triennale at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, curated by Okwui Enwezor (2012); Experimenta India: London Indian Film Festival at the Tate Modern London (2012); Walking Drifting Dragging, New Museum (2013); [UN]NATURAL LIMITS at the Austrian Cultural Forum New York (2013). She also had a solo show, ‘Noise Life’, at Galerie Max Mueller, Mumbai and Project 88, Mumbai. Another show ‘Invocation’ was exhibited at ‘Krishna in the Garden of Assam: The Cultural Context of an Indian Textile’ at the British Museum, London in 2016.