Happy 2022, folks!
I enter this year with the following sentiment....
We are all free souls living on a planet exercising free will. Lets not lazily accept the printed word or the broadcast news as gospel. These are important, testing times for all of humanity, and our critical thinking will have to be at its most efficient. We will need to join up the dots ourself, and rely on intuition and instinct like never before. Be curious, research, investigate and learn so that our self determination prevails in the end. Live not in Fear, but surround yourself with the energy of benevolence, abundance, non judgement and love.
We are all on individual journeys, so buckle up.....and may the Force be with you!
For the last 18 months, 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 covidian uncertainty and lockdowns, visits to Galleries and Art Fairs were curtailed. 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!

KETNA PATEL'S NORTH LONDON STUDIO / HOME
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!