Nirmala was born in Hyderabad in 1980. She completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts from JNTU, Hyderabad in 2002 and later pursued a Masters of Visual Arts (Painting) from Faculty of Fine Arts, M. S. University of Baroda in 2005. Recently, she received her doctoral degree from the Department of Film Studies and Visual Culture at EFL University, Hyderabad, 2019 with the support of the CSDS-ICSSR Fellowship. Nirmala's work and profile is published along with eminent female artists of India in "The Dot That Went for a Walk", a book published in 2019 dedicated to women achievers in India. Growing up in Hyderabad gave her the opportunity to interact with eminent artists including Thota Vaikutam, Laxma Goud, and Laxman Aelay, whom she drew early inspiration from.
While Nirmala's work is certainly figurative and narrative, there is much more to it beyond the obvious. Most of Nirmala's works are women centric. They revolve around her personal life and experiences. She is interested in how gender conspires in mythology, history, and present day, particularly in the Indian context. She represents women as Shakti, a concept taken from Indian philosophy where the feminine is the central and more powerful force of nature.
When asked to talk a bit about the series of her work being showcased by Outliers, Nirmala says, "This series of water colors are a reflection of the 'self' that express a constant dialogue and conflict between my 'self' and the 'other'. The other is shown using metaphors such as birds and animals. Some of the works with couples are inspired from love poems. I am emotionally attached to these works as I did them during the phase of a relationship which led to marriage later on. The series reflect all the various emotions that one goes through as a woman and as an artist trying to create her own space in both real and art world. Some of these works are inspired by Hindu and Buddhist philosophies. The conflict and balance between the male and female force is coming from the concepts of Prakriti and Purusha in Indian philosophy."
Around 2012, Nirmala realized the interdisciplinary possibilities of art. Since then she have has been experimenting with various mediums and spaces through installations and site specific art works as well as painting. Apart from practicing art, she also curates shows and write about art including articles for news magazines, catalogues and academic papers. She believes art can act as a powerful medium in bringing various communities together and also address larger issues such as gender sensitisation and the environmental crisis.
Nirmala's work has been part of a number of solo and group shows, in India, Canada, Thailand, and the US. Her work is also part of a number of important personal and institutional collections in India and abroad.