Memoirs series and Sandhya’s installation.

The wedding, acrylics on canvas, 30″ x 40″.

Part of the Indian memoirs series, my painting is based on the traditional craft of ‘phulkari’ (‘flower work’ embroidery on cloth). This particular style of embroidery plays a major role in punjabi households and is mostly seen on shawls, traditional dresses and as huge decorative pieces hung on walls. The bright silk threads can light up a dull room and a dull mood! I myself own a lot of phulkari pieces, my personal favourites being the stoles! 🙂 Phulkaris are extensively used in punjabi weddings (cermonies, attires, tokens for relatives, gifts for the bride) and having attended so many of these weddings (two recently, back to back!) since a child, how could I not be influenced by this wonderful craft?

The painting took over a week… layer upon layer playing with yellows and golds, some parts showing relief… bright colours focusing some forms, underplaying other forms… slowly achieving my desired result.

Series progress- so far, so good!

Other interesting news on the art front, Sandhya Pai (my friend and ex-JJite too) starts her installation show tomorrow at the Noble Sage Gallery, East Finchley. Sandhya has been working on the concept and the intricate work since months and yesterday, finally installed the show! It took a whole day to install and both of us enjoyed setting it up. I have never worked on an installation project before and it was a great experience for me to help Sandhya and see her transform a circular bare space into something magical! The show aptly titled, ‘Grass Roots’, focuses on the themes of rituals, memories and history. The ‘soil’  is newspaper pulp, the “stuff of words and letters that together makes up our living recent history made into a paradoxically non-recognisable, non-readable, natural soil-like surface.” The cut out pieces (Sandhya and her family members playing major characters in these drawings) emerge from the ‘soil’ like “little idols of real life for us to worship in this extinguished pyre”.

It was great to see the installation first hand and I’m happy I got the opportunity to set it up with the artist. I know how it feels when you see your work finish and the joy that it gives you and seeing Sandhya at the end of the day with a happy and content glint in the eye was heart warming… wishing her luck for the show and hoping her preview party tomorrow is a huge success!


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