Ketna is a highly prolific British-Indian multi media artist. Born in East Africa, educated in UK, and based in South East Asia + India for the last twenty five years, she uses her training in Design and Architecture to map observations gleaned from her compulsive travels onto an existentialist, yet to be defined new global anthropology that is fast emerging.
Having just transplanted her studio from Singapore to two 'travelling studios' in the UK and India, she describes herself as being deeply tri-cultural; grounded in an evolving human identity beyond the rapidly evaporating boundaries of culture, nationality and geography. She believes that for most artists, there is no divide between their ‘private’ life and their ‘professional’ output. All realizations and insights gleaned from inter-personal relationships, travels, media etc can be transmuted into a heightened awareness / expression of where human society is at today, and possibly where it may be heading towards....
Patel's work has been exhibited at Museums, Galleries and Art Fairs all over the world. Aside from being the recipient of the prestigious ASEAN Art Award, Ketna is also a popular TV and Radio personality, and her Art has also been much sought after by the Entertainment Business. Some of her clients include IIFA (International Indian Film Academy) and Hollywood Director Spike Lee. A voracious photographer, she was recently invited by SONY to be a brand ambassador for their digital camera advertising campaign, which was beamed to millions of people all over the world for more than six months. She has licensed her artwork for many applications; the last being an ongoing contract with the giant Austrian Furniture maker ADA to make Artbed headboards inspired by European history. Likewise, she was also commissioned by Singapore based fashion label ‘AllDressedUp’ for their Spring/Summer 2010 collection, which was shown in 25 countries. She regularly supports charity / fund raising initiatives e.g in April 2015, she was invited by Singapore's AWARE and WOAM (Women on a mission) to stage a solo exhibition to raise money for the recent Nepal earthquake. In 2012, she painted a giant fibreglass elephant for the internationally famous ‘Elephant Parade’, and in the same altruistic vein, was also recently was a brand ambassador for ‘KIEHLS’, the cosmetic company to raise money for autism. In 2011, Tata Motors (India) commissioned her to convert one of their ‘Nano’ Cars into a work of Art, which she did using Italian glass mosaic by SICIS. Recently, the Salsali Private Museum in Dubai acquired and exhibited her now famous artwork ‘Asian Grandfathers’. Aside from being commissioned by several hotels and restaurants in Singapore and the U.K, Patel has participated in talks, workshops and exhibitions worldwide. Her works continue to be collected and exhibited in numerous institutions and international private collections.
From 2013 – 2018, Ketna has been organizing and participating in ‘Rural – Urban’ divide village projects in India and the U.K. to continue investigating the ramifications of Globalization on 'Identity', 'Populism' and 'Nationhood'.
In 2018, she was presented with the UK-India Youth leader award, and consequently selected to be part of the steering committee for the Commonwealth Business Women’s network (both headquartered in London). Ketna is also a member of the non profit Thinktank organization ‘BRIDGEINDIA’ (http://www.bridgeindia.org.uk)
Ketna Patel’s artwork challenges our prejudices and pretensions about art, in much the same way that early Western Pop artists did. “Using different cultures and historical events, I juxtapose mythological characters, Gods, Political icons and the common man on the same canvas. This is a romance between the old and the new, once prohibited by stringent cultural, political, and class boundaries that have hemmed in most of us”.
Perhaps no other British creation symbolizes the standard of excellence as well as the Rolls Royce car. From Royals to Rap stars, the Rolls Royce car holds its own as the ultimate symbol of success.
Heralded as the car of the Maharajas and the preferred transportation of Chinese and Indonesian billionaires, British - Indian Pop Artist Ketna Patel has transformed a classic 1975 Rolls Royce 'Silver shadow' into a mobile Art installation.
Commencing in summer 2019, she intends to travel around 'immigrant Britain', documenting and archiving stories of the many layered generations of immigrants in Britain. Her objective is to explore, facilitate and reflect a deeper awareness of the many layers of narrative within the immigrant communities living in the U.K, both to themselves and the rest of the world.
Affectionately we refer to Britain as 'Blighty'.... but how many people know that the name 'Blighty' derives from "bilayati"; a regional variant of the hindi word "vilayati", meaning "foreign" or "British"!
Ketna Patel hails from an indian ethnicity, but was born with a British nationality in one of Britain's colonies; Kenya. She has spent most of the last 25 years in Singapore and India; both British colonies. "Coming from this layered background, I am aware of how conditioned we have been by the ‘British’ version of world events, and how this colonial education (for better or worse) may have locked us out of our own original thought and identity making. I am not talking about religious rituals or the stageset and props behind National Day Parades and Diwali festivals.…..I am referring to the ‘new 21st century, largely urban Asian’. Who is he or she?? And what is this modern Asian with the new, powerful voice saying and feeling? What do they look like?"
During my travels in India, I stumble across quiet displays of ingenious creativity. However, I suspect that there is a shortage of platforms in which these ‘creative’ two way conversations can be had with the public. At the risk of generalization, I would say that Indian Design has become entangled with foreign brands and status, often substituting its own story telling with projections borne from foreign cultures and sensibilities. For a young girl to spend her whole month’s salary on a branded handbag makes no sense. Overt minimalism for a country bursting with colour and texture seems strange, yet we are all tuning into many homogenous presentations and reproductions of copies of copies from somewhere else. We are witnessing the demise of the individual. Any demonstration of the opposite of that is something I would dearly welcome, even if the end product is not finished or slick.
Combining her life experiences, observations, and social networks, Ketna would like to build cultural and social bridges of understanding between Britain and India. In particular, her focus is to shine the light on invisible or marginalised communities that have been left out of the universal neo-liberal economic political model which has had severe ramifications on individual and national identities.
PROJECT 'INDIA DISCOVERS CHINA'; Ongoing enquiry observing and documenting how these two giant 'parents' of Asian culture compare and contrast their expression and identities in the post modern world.
PROJECT: ART AS A COMMUNICATION VEHICLE
What happens to Artwork once it leaves our studio? How does it travel, and where does it end up? Does it influence the environment it finds itself in?
If you have bought Artwork from us, we invite you to email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) photos of the Artwork in its new context. Although your identity will remain confidential, these photos may be published or presented in public for research purposes.
The findings / documentation will be part of our larger enquiry into how Art in non institutional contexts plays a part in the propagation of cultural knowledge in our Globalized Information age.