Greetings from London! What interesting times we live in, eh??!
We are sitting in 2021; hungover from the events of 2020. I'm calling it THE YEAR OF AWAKENING.
We are crossing the schism and naming the divide.
In a world where political positioning has been weaponized to the degree that important information is being manipulated, ignored or downright censored, my dominating observation of the world today is paraphrased nicely by Jung.
'Intellectual intelligence seeks the feeling of knowing' (ego)
'Intuitive intelligence seeks the knowing of feeling' (heart)
My three resolutions for the immediate future are: (thankyou for the inspiration Martin Geddes)
(1) Love your deluded neighbour (2) Seek unifying synthesis rather than dominating analysis (3) Create beauty as a universal language
And with that, keep your safety belts and critical thinking caps on, dear fellow humans - for the roller coaster continues!
For this whole year, I have been living and working rather quietly....externally eavesdropping on the Brexit and Covid phenomenons whilst internally unpacking many years of frenetic Global travelling. Before Covid, the world was busy, noisy, and explosive. We were forever multi tasking, rushing around like ants on steroids! Today, there is heat in our bodies, from unexpressed words, to uncertainty above us in the skies, from not knowing what to believe in...
In the age of Lockdown, Galleries are closed, Art Fairs cancelled and studio visits not permitted. I am therefore opening up my personal living and working space to you all virtually. In a weird way, absence has made the heart grown fonder, and communication has become more intimate. As we gently welcome this new year, I invite you all into my world....enjoy!
My home studio is full of furniture from the 'ASIA POP' collection I made in Singapore. No matter how cold or dreary the London weather is, my living room immediately transports me to much warmer and colourful countries!
By marrying my Art compositions with utilitarian applications, I deliberately try and blur the lines between high art, popular art, design and lifestyle. The mediums I use are deliberately chosen to communicate the underlying symbolism behind the work. For example, to demonstrate our media saturated world, I use plexiglass instead of traditional canvas and paint for some of my stories. Also, in the consumerist, capitalistic system of today, I think that the line between Art, design and lifestyle is becoming increasingly blurred. So I demonstrate this by using alternative utilitarian surfaces as messaging devices to communicate my stories. These can range from furniture, fashion, to a rickshaw or car! Also, I feel that a lot of our ‘identity making’ today is borne out of media led virtual interfaces, be it cable TV or the Internet or giant Advertising billboards. We are more exposed to the above than we are to ‘real Art’. Virtual colours found in our computers and brochures speak of an exagerarrated reality. So, the question in a lot of my work is….”Is it Art or Advertising”? Perhaps its ART-VERTISING??
This is the time for us to delve into our rich, complex, layered narratives and identities, and have the courage of conviction to tell our OWN stories. We have to invest in our authentic creativity to be truly modern…..and of course, democratic freedom to express it! But first, we have to really ‘see’ ourselves, and not just be fooled by our insecure projections of who we may want to be. It is this self image, ethnic / national identity and the way we relate to each other that is what is under scrutiny in a lot of my work, which is ultimately about…..people. I try and chronicle their stories when they are the least self-conscious, and this I find in ‘the street’. This is where we reveal ourselves….where we collectively say more than we know. These information highways are full of information and clues as to where we came from and where we may be heading. I am not attempting to romanticize the past, but rather ‘re-validate’ it by showing the interconnectedness between our past, present and future.In an era of fast communication, market driven consumerism and celebrity culture, the ‘common man’ is becoming increasingly marginalized. His or her thoughts remain largely unexpressed, in lieu of rather inane soundbytes perpetuated by politicians or actors. Media driven marketing has to a great extent replaced the ‘authentic’ voice. Using photographs I have taken of people and places visited and experienced, together with text from ‘found’ reading material (newspapers, magazines, junk brochures, menus etc), I collage and make up narratives that speak of a larger societal change.
Colour represents the emotional frequency of a country. Bubble gum pinks, lime green, vermillion, powder blue, sunflower yellow……these are sun saturated colours found in everyday Indian culture. One may be hardpressed to find them in Copenhagen or Helsinki, but think of Gujarat, Karnataka, Orissa, and its definitely not a grey, monochromatic visualization! Asian and African culture has ‘sunlight’ embedded in every aspect of it. This finds its way into stories, mythologies, rituals, architecture, clothes, music, even food!