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 recently 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....

Ketna Patel speaks….. I am a child of a diaspora. Like many others today, my rather fractured identity encapsulates the following: Ethnically gujarati, (I hail from Karamsad - the same village as ‘Sardar Patel) Singaporean based, London educated transnational who spent the first fourteen years of her life in East Africa. Although my passport is British, I cannot truly claim citizenship of any particular place. Growing up in East Africa, I had no idea that Asia would play such a large part in my life. My entry into India was through a weekly diet of Bollywood VCR’s, and I had a huge crush on Amitabh Bachan. (I think I still do!) My fantasy version of Prince Charming was an Indian Professor type in crumpled white cotton kurta pyjamas, in a library setting smoking a pipe. (Think Satyajit Ray). I am now divorced, happily single and exploring my own true SOUL identity devoid of all role playing and labels....its really a roller coaster ride into the unknown! Architectural work, and a subconscious desire to escape everyone I knew took me to Singapore 25 years ago. It was only on this little island that I was imbued with a sense of the depth of ‘Asian civilization’; it was here I started rubbing shoulders with my hybrid identity – one that was not culture, gender, profession or geographical based. There was no support of a ‘pretend’ home; no dominant source culture that would impress itself upon me. No jazz clubs or leather jackets or British museums filled with Renaissance paintings. Back then, Singapore was bland and neutral enough for me to actually ‘wipe the slate clean’ somewhat, and be virgin to new thoughts and experiences. I did not know what I was attracted to until I tried it….. Singapore is like an airport lounge. It’s a young country; fickle and dynamic….. It has methodically hot housed its desirability…..akin to a woman who is perfectly coiffered and groomed, and is beautiful in a perfect plastic way. For me, ‘this animal’ is compelling, for she / it denies her authentic self to the point of being a perfect chameleon, elastic accents and all. It tries on many personas, highlighting her best features and covering up her weaknesses. See……being displaced can be freeing!Coming from the Indian-African 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? Globalization, Consumerism, Advertising and ‘instant’ communication is changing the world very fast. That leaves us easy prey for often incongruous and out dated notions of a Westerner’s idea of modernity, which may not work for Asia. What made sense in the U.S or Europe, and was developed through hundreds of years of their particular history may not be appropriate for Asia. So senseless ‘aping’ is limiting, be it buying a branded handbag, Artwork or commissioning a British tudor style house. If we are not careful, we will become a Disneyland dumping ground for short sighted, greedy developers and ‘imported’ expressions that supposedly lend us status credibility.

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”.

CV: Mixed Media Artist Ketna Patel

London Studio: Mobile: +44(0)7982654310

E-mail: [email protected]Personal FB:https://www.facebook.com/ketna...Public FB: https://www.facebook.com/Ketna.Patel.Studio/ BritIndia FB: https://www.facebook.com/Briti...Website: www.ketnapatel.com Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ketn...


ADA (Licensing contract for European headboards by Ketna Patel) www.ada.netIIFA (Commission for Stage set + merchandizing for IIFA 2012 Singapore) www.iifa.comTATA MOTORS, INDIA (Commission to convert the Nano car into art) www.tatamotors.comSONY (Brand Ambassador for Cybershot camera; commercials viewed by 5 million people) www.sony.comSAMPOERNA FOUNDATION, INDONESIA (Special commission to document their schools over a month and translate the findings into a series of Artworks) www.sampoernafoundation.orgSPIKE LEE (40 ACRES AND A MULE FILMWORKS) (ASIA POP furniture) www.40acres.comKIEHLS Since 1851 (Brand Ambassador for their Charity Project ‘Children of our rare Earth’; artwork converted onto cosmetics labels, tote bags, Mr Bones the skeleton) www.kiehls.comCATHAY ORGANIZATION (Special triptych commission to celebrate their 75 year anniversary) www.thecathay.com.sgALL DRESSED UP FASHION (Commission for artworks to be used over their Spring – summer collection; showcased in 25 countries) www.alldressedup.comPREM JOSHUA AND BAND (Commission to design their CD cover) www.premjoshua.comASIA UNCUT chatshow, Starworld TV (Stage set design using Asia Pop furniture) www.asiauncut.comCONRAD CENTENNIAL HOTEL, SINGAPORE (Commission of artworks for all their bedrooms) www.conrad.hilton.comRAFFLES PLAZA HOTEL, SINGAPORE - Now known as the Fairmont Hotel (Commission of artworks for all their bedrooms) www.fairmont.comSWISSOTEL STAMFORD HOTEL, SINGAPORE (Commission for very large artwork for the New Asia Bar and Grill) www.swissotel.comNEW MAJESTIC HOTEL, SINGAPORE (Asia Pop Rickshaw as part of their reception design) www.newmajestichotel.comGLOBAL BRAND FORUM (Commissioned Stageset design) www.globalbrandforum.orgUNIFEM (Artworks commissioned for fundraising every year for the last 7 years) SICIS MOSAIC ART FACTORY (Close collaboration with Sicis for the Tata Nano project; the car was shipped to Ravenna, Italy, and covered in glass mosaic) www.sicis.comSINGAPORE NATIONAL MUSEUM (Commission to design a fringe interactive colour installation to accompany the Verner Pantone Exhibition) www.nationalmuseum.sgWHEELOCK PROPERTIESSINGAPORE (Commission for 2 month Public installation on Scotts Road, Singapore) www.wheelockproperties.com.sg OKTO CHANNEL, MEDIACORP TV SINGAPORE (2 month Stageset design for one of their weekly programs) www.mediacorp.sgRUPEE ROOM, SINGAPORE (Commission to convert their lounge bar in Clark Quay to a Bollywood inspired Asian Pop theme) www.harry.com.sgSCREENING ROOM, SINGAPORE (Commission for Hollywood + Bollywood inspired Asia Pop light installation) www.screeningroom.com.sgMAGIC BUS INDIA (Commissions for artworks to be auctioned for fundraising) www.magicbus.orgELEPHANT PARADE SINGAPORE (Special commission to paint a giant fibre glass elephant for fundraising) www.elephantparade.com


May 2019: LONDON, U.K: Public London studio launch + Exhibition at Affordable Art Fair, Hampstead

Sept 2018: SINGAPORE: Exhibition @ The Cinammon Room, Holland Village

Aug 2018: DELHI, INDIA: Megha Malhar exhibition by Galerie nvya @ Pullman Delhi Aero city

July 2018: LONDON, U.K: Invited to become part of the steering committee for the Commonwealth Business Women’s network

June 2018: LONDON, U.K: Presented the UK-INDIA Youth Leader award

Feb 2018: INDIA, BANGALORE: Speaker @ TIMES OF INDIA Literature Festival

Feb 2018: INDIA; JAIPUR: Attendee at Jaipur Literature Festival; Speaker at the 3rd Rajasthan Studies Symposium, Reconaissance visit to AMBER ARTS; a new binational Britindia project being set up to promote the arts, celebrate creative capital, improve the local economy & encourage cultural “trade”.

Jan 2018: INDIA; MADHYA PRADESH; 2 week Art Residency @ Art Ichol; Exploring MIGRATION; 'Disjoints & Dislocations

Jan 2018: INDIA: Mumbai, Ahemdabad (Travel Documentation)

Aug 2017: Road trip through Europe; Corsica, Italy, France, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany; Documenting the 'Rural - Urban' divide in the context of Globalization

Jul - Sept 2017: LONDON, U.K: ‘POP UP INDIA’; Group exhibition at ‘PROUD EAST’, Haggerston.

Feb 2017: JAGGANATH PURI, ORISSA, INDIA: ‘Excavating Orissa’; Co-organizer and participator in a one month long Arts Residency exploring the Rural – Urban Divide in India. This will be the second case study of this series.

Feb 2017: INDIA: India Art Fair; Delhi; Solo Exhibition (Art Konsult Gallery)

Nov 2016: SINGAPORE: Affordable Art Fair; Solo Exhibition

Sept 2016:CORSICA: Research and Documentation pertaining to long term project investigating the ramifications on ‘Identity’ due to Globalization and the Rural - Urban divide.

June 2016: HIMACHAL PRADESH, INDIA:http://www.shopartshop.com/Co-organized and participated in a one month long Arts Residency exploring the Rural - Urban Divide in India. This was the first case study of many planned in the future.

April 2016:LONDON, U.K: The launch of ‘AAAHA’ (Anglo Asiatic Arts Heritage Alliance; https://aaaha.co.uk) and BRITINDIA at SOAS, london (School of Oriental and African Studies; University of Westminster)

2014-2018: WALES, U.K: New studio! Acquisition and renovation of a 108 year old Methodist chapel situated in an ex mining village on the edge of the Brecon beacons, South Wales. This location and building is a deliberate decision to probe deeper the ‘Rural – Urban’ divide in the U.K and India. The intention is to use it as as a space to exchange ideas and information, and also to make and present work.

Nov 2015: LONDON: Part of the South East Asian Festival; www.seaartsfest.org; Groupshow at Rosa's Angel Thai Cafe

Oct 2015: CROATIA: Dubrovnik; Tour + Photo Documentation

Sept 2015:INDIA; Chennai: 'Dance of Expression' Group exhibition by Apparao Galleries (with artists Maya Burman + Ganga Singh)

March 2015: SINGAPORE: Solo Exhibition 'Secretland'; www.womenmission.com; Raising money for the Tsum People of Nepal

Feb 2015: INDONESIA; Batam: Charity Exhibition for ‘Swing for the kids 2015’; Palm Springs Golf & Beach Resort

Nov 2014: SINGAPORE: Affordable Art Fair; Solo Exhibition (represented by ‘ARTISTRY’)

June 2014: U.K; London: Arts for India Charity (In celebration of India Art Week in U.K), St James Court Hotel

Jan 2014: INDIA; New Delhi: Solo Exhibition @ India Art Fair (Represented by Apparao Galleries)

Nov 2013: SINGAPORE: Affordable Art Fair; Solo Exhibition (represented by ‘ARTISTRY’)

June 2013: ITALY;Venice: Included in the publication of 'CAKE': The dessert culture between Arabic and Western traditions; curated by Manuela De Leonardis, featuring international artists, published by www.postcart.com

June 2013: SWITZERLAND; Basel: Visitor to Art Basel; travel to neighbourhood villages

May 2013: AUSTRIA: 2 week Arts Residency with www.komm.st in collaboration with furniture company 'ADA'.

March 2013: LONDON: Establish Art Studio; Ongoing travels to British Countryside (Cornwall, Somerset, Wales etc) to understand the rural / urban divide better. Better understanding of the London Art Scene; politics; cultural migration etc.

Dec 2012: INDIA: Rishikesh, Haridwar, Dehra dun, Ahemdabad; Photo Documentation

CHENNAI, INDIA: Kaizen Design Accents; Solo Exhibition

July 2012: SINGAPORE: PANTONEMYART Group Exhibition @ TCC The Gallery

June 2012: SOUTH KOREA:Jeju: Conducted 10 day Art workshop at the North London Collegiate School

JAPAN:Kyoto, Koyasan, Amanhashigate, Ine, Osaka; Tour + Photo Documentation

SINGAPORE: Collaboration with IIFA 2012 (International Indian Film Academy); Stage / Lounge / Press room design, merchandizing Tote bags, limited edition Prints

Nov 2012: SRI LANKA: Galle + Columbo; Photo Documentation

SINGAPORE: Affordable Art Fair; Solo Exhibition

Oct 2012: LONDON: SaffronArt; 'ARTiculate' group exhibition for PRATHAM U.K (with artists Anindita Bhattacharya, Binoy Varghese, Pratul Dash, Vibha Galhotra, Probir Gupta, Farhad Hussain, Manisha Parekh, Mithu Sen, Kirann Telkar)

Sept 2012: SINGAPORE: YAVUZ FINE ART; Solo Exhibition 'HETEROTOPIA 2012' (www.yavuzfineart.com)

May 2012: MALAYSIA: Solo Exhibition, KL Lifestyle Art Space

May 2012: SINGAPORE: Venue thematic using ASIA POP furniture for Charity Fundraising Evening by ‘Transformation in Humanity’

April 2012: SINGAPORE: ‘KIEHLS’ Cosmetics project ‘Children of our rare Earth’; design of merchandizing & Mr Bones the skeleton

March 2012:MALDIVES: Design & Aesthetics consultant for Niyama resort

Feb 2012: BALI: Cultural Tour + Photo Documentation

Jan 2012: SINGAPORE: Sotheby’s / ABN Amro’s Auction of Art Elephant @ St.Regis Hotel

Dec 2012: THAILAND; KOH SAMUI: Health retreat + Photo Documentation

Nov 2011: HONG KONG: HONG KONG: Indian Contemporary features Ketna Patel in their multi-artist exhibition.

(with contemporary Indian artists Farhad Hussain, Nayanaa Kanodia, Sohan Jakhar, Durga Kainthola and Bonny Hazuria)

SINGAPORE: Affordable Art Fair at the F1 Pit Building; with Singapore based British artist Jon Homewood and the Philippine Artist Gabriel Barredo.

SINGAPORE: Ketna Patel is one of over 70 International and Singapore artists participating in the first ever Elephant Parade in Singapore inaugurating on 11/11/11. Her art elephant ‘Stop Asians Ahead!’ was exhibited at Raffles Green, a prominent public location in Singapore, for two months.

Oct 2011: THE HAGUE AND AMSTERDAM, HOLLAND: Ketna’s art is featured by Dayang’s Art at their participation at ART11, The Hague and at the Affordable Art Fair in Amsterdam.

Sept 2011: SINGAPORE: UNIFEM SNOW auction of 2 artworks

July / Aug 2011: LEBANON, JORDAN, PALESTINE, ISRAEL: One month research trip + Photo Documentation

May 2011: SINGAPORE: Auction of 1 Artwork for MAGIC BUS charity auction

ITALY: Group Show ‘L’ Artista Come Rishi’ (The Artist as Rishi), Museo Nazionale d’Arte Orientale, Rome

Apr 2011: INDIA: Group Show ‘Looking Back To Look Forward’ commemorating ten years of Nitanjali Art Gallery, New Delhi

SINGAPORE: Collaboration with Fu Ai Wei , Singaporean Multi-media artist for an installation at Singapore General Hospital, featured in the Okto Channel (Singapore) production ‘Watch This Space’ Episode 5.

Mar 2011: INDIA: Solo Show: Ketna Patel @ Art Konsult, New Delhi. Showcasing Acrylic screenprints and Asia Pop! Furnitur

Jan 2011: INDIA: Solo Exhibition + Car Art Installation at India Art Summit. Represented by Indigo Blue Art, Singapore

Commission by TATA Motors to convert a Nano car into Art. In collaboration with SICIS, the Mosaic experts.

Dec 2010: INTERNATIONAL: Design of Music Album by Prem Joshua & Band; ‘Luminous secrets’

Nov 2010: SINGAPORE: Ketna Patel @ Indigo Blue Art Exhibition @ Affordable Art Fair.

Sept 2010: SINGAPORE: ‘ASIA O.K!’ @ Indigo Blue Art Gallery. Parallel Solo show with Artist Vibha Galhotra from Delhi

March 2010: SINGAPORE: Licensing Collaboration with ‘THE LINK’ Fashion House - ‘All dressed up’ for ‘ASIA POP’ inspired Spring / Summer 2010 International fashion collection

Jan 2010: INDIA: Study Tour of Karnataka + Tamil Nadu

Dec 2009: SINGAPORE: Auction of 2 Artwork for SNOW Benefit, UNIFEM

Oct 2009: SINGAPORE: Larasati Auction House; 2 Artworks sold (Acrylic on canvas painting + Photo Collage)

Sept 2009: U.K: London, Somerset, Bath, Glastonbury, Stonehenge, Wales; Travels & Photo Documentation

July 2009: SOUTH AFRICA: Johannesburg, Durban, Capetown, Franschhoek; Travels & Photo Documentation

June 2009: KENYA / UGANDA / ZANZIBAR: Travels & Photo Documentation

May/June 2009: SINGAPORE: Installation Commissioned by Singapore National Museum to accompany ‘Verner Pantone Exhibition’

April 2009: SINGAPORE: Invited to be a judge for one week filming of ‘Doodle Champs’ TV show. (Screened in Oct 2009)

Feb 2009: SINGAPORE: ”CON-FUSION” Solo Exhibition at TCC “The Gallery” 51 Circular Rd in collaboration with Art-Management.com

SINGAPORE: Stage set using ASIA POP furniture for Chat Show “Asia Uncut”

Jan 2009: INDIA: Orissa Art Camp (Bhubaneswar, Jaganath Puri organized & sponsored by Mr Siddhart Tagore; “Art & Deal” Delhi. Travels & Photo documentation of Ahemdabad, Delhi, Mumbai & Pune

Nov / Dec 2008: SINGAPORE:American Club; Solo Exhibition

Nov 2008: SINGAPORE: Group Show at Fort Canning, ‘More Mixed Messages’ with Charlotte Cain and Jutta Odenwalder

Oct 2008: SINGAPORE: ‘Web in Travel’; ‘ASIA POP’ Stage set design + Talk on Asian Streets

Solo Show, ASIAN ART FAIR (www.artsingapore.net)

Sept 2008: SINGAPORE: ‘ODE TO ART’ Gallery Exhibition of Nostalgia series (Photo Collages)

Aug 2008: SINGAPORE: The “GLOBAL BRAND FORUM” Stage set using ‘ASIA POP ART’ featuring Spike Lee (Hollywood), Jimmy Wales (Wikipedia), Joanne Ooi (Shanghai Tang)

June / July 2008: INDIA: Himalayas; Kashmir, Ladakh, Leh region; Travelling Studio

May 2008: SINGAPORE: Ascott Hotel; Public Areas; Two Photo Collage Commission

March 2008: INDIA: Opening of India Studio; Pune

Dec 2007: INDIA: Travelling Studio; Goa

Nov 2007 SINGAPORE: “Singapore National Museum” Exhibit of ‘Jalan Asia Rickshaw’ Commisioned by IMG Artists for the Sun Festival; (Now permanent exhibit at the ‘Majestic Hotel’, Chinatown)

Oct 2007: SINGAPORE:Art Installation @ Orchard road; commissioned by Wheelock Properties;

SINGAPORE: Solo Show, Asian Art Fair @ Suntec City

July 2007: SINGAPORE: ‘Bollywood Pop’ Art Styling at ‘The Rupee Room’ @ Clarke Quay

June 2007: SINGAPORE: Art Installation at the new ‘Screening Room’ Restaurant, Ann Siang RdMarch 2007: SINGAPORE: ‘Chalo Asia’; Solo Exhibition at Indigo Blue Art GalleryDec / Jan 2007: INDIA: Photo Documentation of Mumbai, Pune, Hodka villages in Kutch (Gujarat), Mandvi, Ahemdabad, Vidyanagar, Karamsad, Dharmaj, Nadiad, Udaipur, Ranakpur, Jodhpur, Manwar, Pokran, Jaiselmer, Bikaner, Jaipur, Agra and Delhi.Nov 2006: SINGAPORE: 20 Nov 06 – Artwork commission for SNOW Benefit for UNIFEM;Sustainable Livelihood Programme, Conrad Centennial Hotel; Art theme: “Women as Guardians of Heritage & Culture”


June 2006: THAILAND; BANGKOK: Photo documentation of Bangkok city

May 2006: SINGAPORE: 17 – 21st May; Exhibition @ NUS Centre for the Arts; University Cultural Centre Hall (In commemoration of ‘Man of Letters’ musical by Dick Lee)

March 2006: INDONESIA: Commission by Sampoerna Foundation; Photo documentation of SQIP (School Quality Improvement Program) schools in Sumatra, Kalimantan, Java, Bali

July 2005 – March 2006: SINGAPORE: Weekly radio show on Art + Design @ WKRZ, 91.5

Jan / Feb 2006:SINGAPORE:American Club; Solo Exhibition

Nov 2 – 24, 2005:SINGAPORE: Mentor; Creative Youth Xchange @ Gallery Hotel, Organized by MICA

Dec 6 – 9, 2005:SINGAPORE: Contemporary 2005; Apad’s Art Exhibition, ARTrium @ MICA

Nov / Dec / Jan 2005/6:SINGAPORE:Esplanade; Jendela Gallery; “Pop Puri Singapura”; Group Exhibition

Oct / Nov / Dec 2005:SINGAPORE:Esplanade; Concourse Space; “Jalan Asia”; Solo Exhibition

Nov 2005: SINGAPORE: UNIFEM ‘SNOW’ benefit; Fundraising Art Auction (to commemorate the UN declared International Day to end violence against women)

Oct 2005:SINGAPORE:INSEAD Business School; 20 – 23 Oct; Alumni Weekend; Solo Exhibition

Sept / Oct 2005: SINGAPORE:Asian Art Fair @ Suntec City; Solo Exhibition

May 2005:SINGAPORE: “Asia is watching” Asian Pop Series @ VANILLA HOME Gallery, Club St

March 14 – 19, 2005:LONDON: “The Art of India in Britain”; Group Show @ AIR Gallery, Mayfair

March 19 – April 23, 2005:SINGAPORE; “Chipbee Boheme”, Group Show @ MICHI Art Gallery

Feb 17 – 24, 2005:SINGAPORE; Arts House, Old Parliament, “Finding Sunshine”, Group Exhibition + Arts Auction (for helping children affected by the Tsunami disaster)

Jun 30 – Jul 16, 2004:ROME, ITALY; ‘Occhi sul Mundo’ (Eyes on the World), Solo Exhibition, Galleria Bibliothe

June 2004: MANCHESTER, U.K; All the bedroom and foyer Artwork for BIRCH HOTEL, Heywood

March 12, 2004:MIDDLESEX; NORTH LONDON COLLEGIATE; Talk on Colour Theory; Edgware

Feb 13 – 29, 2004: LONDON; ‘Tears of Milk’ Solo Exhibition at Clarendon Cross Gallery, London

Feb 6 – 8, 2004: MIDDLESEX, U.K; ‘Tears of Milk’ Solo Exhibition, Travellers Studio, Harrow Arts Centre

Oct 2003: MUSCAT, OMAN; Bait Muzna Gallery, Group Exhibition

Sept / Oct 2003:HELSINKI, FINLAND: ‘Third World Rainbows’, Solo Art Exhibition, Gallery Stockgard

June / July / August 2003: SRI LANKA, KENYA, EGYPT; Travels / Documentation April / May 2003: PUNE, INDIA: 2 months of documenting and Photo Collage studies in temporary studio Feb 2003: NEW YORK; CHENGLATH STUDIO; Open House Solo Show

Jan / Feb 2003:JAMAICA, CAYMAN ISLANDS, BAHAMAS, CUBA, & USA; Travels & Documentation


Talk about recent visit to Cuba to The Department of Children & Families for the State of Florida; Refugee Services, Tallahasse, Florida

2002:SINGAPORE; MEMORY BOXES; Group show featuring 10 female artists; organized by UTU Artworks; Suntec City (show highlighting themes of heritage and cultural memories)

SINGAPORE; BOLLYWOOD EXTRAVAGANZA: One night Art Exhibition & Official Premiere of Short Film ’Little India Trip’, Club Centro, One Fullerton, Singapore

SINGAPORE; “CROSSROADS & CONVERSATIONS, Group Art Show organized by UTU Artworks; featuring a scientist, computer programmer, video jockey, sculptor etc at The Orientalist, Tanglin Rd, Singapore


HONG KONG; ART LEASE LTD: Commission in Hong Kong for 70 Show Apartments

BALI; ASEAN ART AWARD: Philip Morris Group of Companies Asean Art Awards 2001/2002, Bali International Convention Centre, Indonesia

SINGAPORE; FIRST STEPS: Philip Morris Group of Companies Singapore Art Awards 2001/2002, The [email protected], Singapore + Travelling show at Tanjong Pagar, Bukit Batok, Changi Simei, Ulu Pandan and Bishan Community Clubs.

SINGAPORE;THE NEW FAMILY & JUVENILE COURT BUILDING, Havelock Square; Commission of 8 Paper Collage Artworks

2001:SINGAPORE; SWISSOTEL THE STAMFORD HOTEL; ‘Rojak Asia’; 7 Panels commission for “New Asia Bar & Grill”; Photo Collage Sculpture measuring 6 x 1.5 m

ITALY; Photo documentation of Renaissance images from travels in Rome, Florence, Venice, Milan etc; Part of Long term Project “Visual Harmonics”

SINGAPORE; ART TALK organized by The Women Artists’ Registry at The Substation

INDIA; MAHAKUMBHMELA FESTIVAL: Photo documentation; (70 million people), Allahabad, plus side trips to Varanasi & Calcutta; Part of forthcoming series of works

SINGAPORE; WOMEN BEYOND BORDERS: Traveling Exhibition, Sculpture Square, Singapore

2000:SINGAPORE;RAFFLES THE PLAZA HOTEL, Commission for bedroom artwork; of 230 Collage Artworks

MAURITIUS;OBEROI HOTEL, Commission: Paintings & Ceramic Artwork for entire Hotel; 74 Suites

SPAIN; Barcelona, Seville, Cordoba, Granada, Toledo etc: Photo documentation; Part of Long term Project “Visual Harmonics”


SINGAPORE;MINISTRY OF EDUCATION CREATIVE ARTS PROGRAM: Book Cover + One week Seminar + Workshop organized by The Ministry of Education at the National University of Singapore

SINGAPORE ART MUSEUM:Nokia Singapore Art 1999; Exhibition of ‘Singaporean Doorways’ Photo Collage

SINGAPORE;UNESCO MANIFESTO 2000: Live Art Performance (Key Project for the International Year for a Culture of Peace & Non-violence); Singapore Power Auditorium

SRI LANKA & VIETNAM (Mekong Delta): Photo Documentation; Part of forthcoming Exhibition


SINGAPORE; YESTERDAY, TODAY TOMORROW – Indian Art through the Ages, Caldwell House, Chijmes, Singapore Group Exhibition with Contemporary Artists from India

SINGAPORE; ‘WOMAN’ – A Celebration; Notices Gallery, Singapore; Group Exhibition; Homage to International Woman’s Day

SINGAPORE; ‘Feature 2’; ART 2 Gallery; Substation, Group Exhibition

INDIA; Photo Documentation of Varanasi, Khajuraho, Udaipur & New Delhi

SINGAPORE; SHORT FILM; “Little India Trip”; Funded by the Singapore Film Commission

1998:SINGAPORE; The Canadian International School; Part time teaching

SINGAPORE; ‘Four Brown Girls and Schubert’; Sunday Studio; Group Exhibition

SINGAPORE; ‘Personal Stories’; UTU Artworks; Group Exhibition

SINGAPORE; Creative Arts Program; Book Cover + Workshop organized by the Ministry of Education @ The National University of Singapore

KENYA + TANZANIA; Photo Documentation of the ‘Masaai’ tribe in Keekorok National Park & Ngorongoro Crater

SINGAPORE; ‘Contemporary Vietnamese Art’ Exhibition at the Alliance Francais; Curator & Organizer

SINGAPORE; Philip Morris Art Competition; Caldwell House, Chijmes; Honourable Mention

1996: SINGAPORE;Conrad International Centennial Hotel; Commission; 900 Woodcut / Ink Paintings for all bedroomsCOLLECTIONS:Singapore: Conrad International Centennial; Raffles The Plaza Hotel; Swissotel The Stamford Hotel; Changi International Airport; Ministry of Education (Gifted Education); Singapore Tourist Promotion Board; Singapore Repertoire Theatre; SAFRA National Service Association; The New Family & Juvenile Court; Far East Organization; Orange Grove Rd Service Apartments; Draycott Park, Balmoral Crescent Condominium; Motorola Electronics; Indus International Asia Ltd; Novotel Hotel International: Tata Motors India, Elephant Parade, KIEHLS Cosmetics, SPIKE LEE (40 Acres and a mule), The Oberoi, Mauritius; Shangri-La Hotel, Qingdao, China; Sheraton Senggigi Resort, Lombok; Spencon Pte Ltd; Kenya; Kenya High Commission, Malaysia; Art Lease, Hong Kong; The Birch Hotel, Manchester, U.K, ADA Furniture Private Collections: Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Belgium, France, Holland, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Denmark, Finland, Canada, U.S.A, India, Sri Lanka, Bali, Indonesia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Oman, United Arab Emirates

Name: Ketna Jitendra Patel / Sex: Female / Birthyear: 1968 / Place of Birth: Kampala, Uganda, East Africa / Ethnicity: Indian (Gujarati) / Nationality: British /

Immigration status: Singapore Permanent Resident since 1996 / EDUCATION 1991 – 1993: The Architectural Association, London; BA (Hons)

1987 – 1991: Middlesex University, Interior Architecture, BA (Hons) / 1986 – 1987: University of Westminster; Fine Arts Foundation Diploma
1976 - 1984: Diploma in Bharat Natyam Indian Dance (Bharatiya Sangeet Samiti)
WORK EXPERIENCE 2005 onwards: Ketna Patel Studio, Singapore; Resident Artist 1996 – 2004: UTU Artworks, Singapore; Artist + Art Consultant1994 – 1996: DP Architects Pte Ltd, Singapore + Michael Wilford & Associates, London, Esplanade Theatres on the Bay; Architectural + Design Team1990 – 1991: Din Associates, London Interior Design / Concepts for High Street Fashion Houses1989: Parekh Associates, Baltimore, USA; Architectural Firm

Following are sound bytes from past interviews. For more, please refer to 'PHILOSOPHY' category. With our studio's prior permission, you are welcome to use any quotes for media purposes; however kindly let us know the context. Please email [email protected]

Interview: Artist Ketna Patel “Cultivating Cultural Identity”

Meet Ketna Patel and her fantastic layered multi-media work. Her unpretentious attitude towards art is incredibly refreshing, and you cannot help but be intrigued by the artist and her work.

A British-Indian contemporary artist, her art reflects much of her own personal journey as an outsider and global citizen, observing, discovering and embracing one’s cultural identity and the desire to belong to a community. At first, you may be drawn in by the vast use of punchy colors and humorous composition of characters, but just like the layers of materials used in her collages, there are much deeper stories being told. Reflections of socio-political and cultural identity exploration in everyday life of today and yesterday are common themes portrayed through her art. Her mission is simply to communicate the story of the lesser-known individual within these landscapes.

Most known for her “Asia Pop!” series available on multiple surfaces from collages, barber chairs, fashion…..even cars!.... this is only one spectacular series of the “Planet Pop Project”. A recent rural lifestyle choice cross bordering between Pune and Wales is sure to produce yet another interesting body of work.

'Tamarind Living' interview of Ketna Patel


TL: Can you tell me a little about how your personal life journey from growing up in Africa and the UK to living as a global citizen has impacted your artwork?

KP: I was born in Uganda in a rather ghettosized, conservative Gujarati Indian society; living next to yet ironically isolated from the Africans and the British communities. Exciting things were happening all around me, but I could not participate. As a result, my curiosity about the vast world behind my ‘box’ kept getting bigger…… We would get dressed up to go pick up visitors at the airport, and I was mesmerized and fascinated by the women I saw, alone, in transit, backpacking, which was so vastly different from the conventional life I knew. How fabulous was this backpackers’ life, I thought, fanaticizing about the exotic adventure they must be on. Needless to say, I felt disconnected and suffocated by my own life, where women’s identity and my role models were focused on keeping house-cooking, cleaning and caring for a family.

When I was 14, my world quickly changed as Idi Amin’s regime broke out in Uganda. The violent atmosphere and the regime’s ultimatum for Indians to leave Uganda almost immediately, resulted in my parents making an overnight decision to send me alone to the UK to live with relatives I was not familiar with, while they remained with my brother in Africa. I was nervous, but terribly excited to leave.

In the UK, after going through ) and A levels and a foundation course in Art + Design, I enrolled in architecture and interior design school. I was a clumsy, terrible student. What was trending in the design world at the time (80’s-90’s) was a “less is more” monochromatic movement. This was considered chic, elite…important. This did not resonate with me, and I felt like I had to apologize for my work, my clothes, my ideas…myself. My teacher even pulled me aside and said, “Ketna, you are really not good at this, Indians are good at math, perhaps you should consider a career in accounts!”

In 1991, when I graduated, the country was in a recession, and I worked for free just to get experience. My grandmother who I lived with was the Indian communities’ unofficial “matchmaker”. Many Sunday afternoons, eligible young men, accompanied by family members would come to her home to meet potential wifely candidates, all orchestrated by my grandmother. I served tea, observing, but not participating. The boys eventually began asking my grandmother about the girl serving tea, and with some convincing, I decide to explore the ‘marriage scene’ (as a sort of sociological test; not with the intention to marry!) Within ten dates, I was as equally unenthused, as when I was initially serving tea. These young men had been conditioned to be ambitious, but lacked any curiosity about the world. Feeling like a fish out of water, knowing this was not an option, I asked my tutor at University (now a friend) to help me find a job in a new place; any place but there.

That request brought me to Singapore where I lived for the next 23 years, working initially as an architect. Once there, I began traveling intensively throughout South East Asia. I observed many similarities between how I perceived my culture while living in Africa and how South East Asians viewed their culture. At the risk of generalizing, it seems Asians were embarrassed by their Asian identity and very concerned with being Western; understandably, as there were no Asian role models to read about in books or to celebrate in the media.

At the time, the architectural firm that I worked for was designing commercial buildings that I was not proud of coupled with a less than appealing salary, so I quit with enough money to survive for a month. A small group of artists and myself moved into a house in Chip Bee Gardens where we shared our space, served cheap wine and crackers and showed our work. My first commission was for $500 designing a program for the Singapore Repertoire Theater. We were there for 20 years, and it developed into our own studio-gallery-home-community. It was the perfect environment for ordinary people to discover art and express themselves.

TL: What do you think needs to be taught in art education that is missing today?

KP: There is too much emphasis on academic referencing, which encourages new artists to “create a one liner manufactured fashion statement, the next cool trend.” As a result artists may adapt their work to what is in fashion and or recreate established works with a few points of difference rather than focusing on creating original art. These works might create some initial interest, but this will be short-lived, as they lack originality.Today’s art curriculum would grossly benefit from courses on sociology, politics, discussions and debates on human habitats. Artists need to go deeper by connecting the dots and scrutinizing on what’s really happening in our ‘off the beaten track’ communities and the world.

TL: Soon after your marriage, your husband and you traveled for 18 months around the world. What was the most impressive place you experienced and where would you still like to explore.

KP: Cuba definitely left a strong impression on us. Conditioned by the angst of the regime, the celebration and emotional release through music is so intense. Havana was an architectural stage set where time had stood still. The patina of age and containment (human and otherwise) was insightful; compelling. In the age of globalization, I find the spaces between countries as fascinating as the caricatures that cultures eventually become. For example, the relationship between Israel and its neighbours; Cuba and America, India and Kashmir etc.We would like to visit South America as well as remote islands, Oceanic cultures to observe how they ‘perpetuate’ their identity.

TL: What do you collect when you travel?

KP: Anything printed-tickets, receipts, and photographs. Photographs are significant for collecting memories. Once you go back and look at a photograph, it emotionally brings you back to that experience, and you see things about the scene that were not initially apparent.

TL: Now that you are splitting your time between Pune and Wales, what are you looking forward to with this new experience and how do you hope this experience will impact your art?

KP: It’s the first time that I’m living on the countryside and not a city, so it will be interesting to observe this rural culture, and the people there. Physically, the natural landscape is very different in Wales, which will certainly impact the colors I use.

My husband and I are exploring the “Slow Life Movement”. Cities are becoming more unsustainable, and identities are ending up as clichéd tours…..So many people are under pressure to have stage set lives that are like movie clips; this is obvious from even most high street shops, and what is for sale. The big question is this……’Is identity for sale’?

I have always been intrigued by information and knowledge of the ‘self’, and this only surfaces when the superficial chattering has stopped. As I slow down, my reflections on all that I have observed are more nuanced, and this informs the creativity. Its early days, but having my main studio base in rural West Wales is a decision I am delighted with. What an adventure!!

We would like to see more people and corporations embrace and revitalize “Ruralism”, not just as a weekend retreat, but the reverse of spending the majority of time in the country and retreating less regularly to the city.

Your Art

TL: Your “Asia Pop!” series has been very well received, known for the vibrant color hues and layered storytelling of Asian culture. Was there a specific methodology for selecting the colors and images?

KP: Our generation is so influenced by advertising rather than fine art and craftsmanship, I wanted my art to deliberately look like a mass produced advertisement with intense color and messaging. While a lot of people look at my art and comment on how happy and vibrant my art is, there is a much deeper and sometimes darker message. I also pay special tribute to my Indian heritage.

TL: Much of your work brings awareness to the individuals and street culture of Asia. Are there any specific causes that you support?

KP: Yes, the empowerment of women and children. “Women are the glue in the family, and children are our future.”

TL: What do you want your art to be remembered for?

KP: Documenting the story of the individual whose voice has not been heard. What’s their cultural identity? What are their politics??

TL: Can you tell me about any special projects that you are working on now?

KP: My husband and I bought an old Chapel in an ex-mining village in Wales. Once a bustling mining village, it became extinct almost overnight, and this rural town lost its identity. Using this perch as a case study, we hope to play a role in re-vitalizing communities like these all over the world. That is ‘Art by intervention!’

TL: You have done several collaboration projects from multi media art- furniture-wearable fashion with brands including Haworth, Kiehls, Cathay, All Dressed Up, Bollywood, and Tata. What types of collaborations do you hope to work with in the future?

KP: I am very interested in Film, as it’s the best medium to archive stories. Collaborating with a filmmaker to tell the stories of the less known individual would be great.

Communication is most important, and we are running out of surface areas to tell stories, so we are open to non-traditional outlets to collaborate / transform and or to display and experience art…a café..a gym….even the green grocer’s in the welsh village I am in!

The Business of Art

TL: How has social media helped and hindered the creation of contemporary art?

KP: We are the first generation to experience this incredible, constant access to information and connectivity, but we are not designed to process this information or manage so many relationships available to us today.

You need to participate, but at the same time this constant access promotes conditioned mindsets rather than what makes sense for the individual. We need to continue to ask the fundamental question. “What is conditioned and what is original?”

Our lifestyles are swallowing us whole. For me, slowing down, being more in nature and small communities is the way to go. Even if only to build bridges between the rural and urban.

TL: Is there anything specific about the business of the art world that you would like to fix?

KP: While galleries and art shows are important; they are very costly for artists to participate. The elite platforms cannot be ignored, but alternative outlets and platforms are needed in the mainstream for the public and creative studio to have a more direct, fluid rapport.

TL: What non-traditional platforms, international shows, or galleries can people visit and or purchase your work?

KP: We are deliberately approachable and encourage you to email us directly if you are interested in our work practice, or Art. The website www.ketnapatel.com is the best place to find out about our current project updates.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Ketna...

Excerpts of interview with 'ASIAN ART NEWS':

“We have sold our freedom and individuality for a life in which almost all decision-making is quietly being consumed by the illusion rather than the reality, by games rather than face to face communication”.

Patel is challenging our prejudices and our pretensions about art, much in the same way that early Western Pop artists did. “I juxtapose different cultures and historical events on the same canvas. A Bollywood actress and a communist Red Guard come together in the same composition. This is a romance between the old and the new, yet once prohibited by stringent cultural, political, and class boundaries that have hemmed in most of us”.

But it is not only the figures and architectural elements of Patel’s art that are striking, her use of texts, both newspapers, advertising and road signage – in all Asian languages, is also important. “Words – slogans, mottos or mission statements – seem to be replacing visual narrative in many ways. Words are the glue that hold up the pictures.

It would be easy enough to label Ketna Patel a political artist for whom all art is a statement. This is far from the truth: indeed if one were to label her so would be a disservice to her as an artist for whom personal identity and the liveliness of everyday culture are integral to a healthy, changing society. For Patel, ”latent prejudices” are to be attacked and for this she must “observe, assimilate, digest, regurgitate, and then make art and move on. “I understand how intricately connected everything is”.

Her art helps not only Patel make sense of the world, it also helps her audiences, for we are all in transition. Over the past decade, Patel has “changed as a person”. My relationship with the world I occupy has also changed as a result. Many times, I only understand aspects of myself once I catch myself reacting to situations. I think this has been reflected in my work and methodology. Increasingly, my objective is for the artwork to have the ability to tap into a larger, collective memory bank so that art might help to become an extension of an individual’s identity honouring their memory of habitat and space”

Interview with 'INDIA TODAY' magazine: What inspires you the most while working on a project? Ketna answers:

Anyone who offers ‘original thinking’. The less conditioned, the better. Thoughts that do not even have to had an ‘educational’ underpinning, but melded out of keen and authentic observations of ‘life’, and the human condition. One such person is ‘Osho’, also known as ‘Rajneesh’. Clarissa Pinkola Estes is another one. She is controversial for proposing that both assimilation and holding to ethnic traditions are the ways to contribute to creative culture and to a soul-based civility. Everyday people inspire me.

What is the relevance of 'POP ART' in Asia?

The theme of popular culture has always been topical. Mirroring contemporary life, it also provokes and reflects upon cultural change. The explosion of Pop Art in the 1960s in America was a witty homage to the burgeoning consumer society celebrated in magazines, comics and advertising. For ASIA POP, the photographic images are firmly rooted in everyday Asian life. But, painstakingly created layer upon layer, new Pop Art techniques are used deliberately to reflect Asia’s technological and economic advances.

How has the Western aesthetic influenced contemporary Asia?

Relentless consumerism and senseless aping of styles and trends have often overtaken the traditional desire to perpetuate and honour family history, cultural sensibilities and local craftsmanship. Colour, patterns, texture have been slowly bleeded out of aesthetic story telling until a habitat has become stylishly minimal, but emotionally impotent. (My answer is a generalized one; of course there are many wonderful exceptions!)

What’s the future of design?

Asia is in a vexed relationship with design. Here, the word design is often associated with a western-centric ideal. I think of Design as an interface for meaning making, a process that is quite different from buying a brand name bag or commissioning a Tudor style house. Good design should be informed by its immediate context: culture, identity, utility. It should not be a ‘veneer’ to paper over a cracked self-image. If we are not careful, we will become a Disneyland dumping ground for short sighted, greedy developers, and imported status symbols. This is the time for us to delve into our rich, complex, layered narratives and identities. We need to have the courage of conviction to tell our OWN stories to be truly modern! But first, we have to really see ourselves, and not just be fooled by our insecure projections of who we may want to be.

I see the world becoming more and more about ‘people’, and less about ‘things’. A lot of creativity today gets diluted in a commercial attempt to please everybody, with the emphasis on bottom line profits for anonymous shareholders. I can envision the future being shaped by virtual communities leaning on each other’s ‘free’ opinions rather than be the unwitting recipients of products thrust on us by the clever propaganda we are subjected to today. I foresee a return to individualism.

How do you think India is big on the international design scene when it comes to architecture and lifestyle accessories for the home?

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.

Has Globalization influenced how Art and Design are viewed by different cultures?

Today, we all participate in a linked reality. The average individual shares many commonalities with others far away. Trivial and iconic imagery bombards us constantly. TV and advertising hoardings selling everything from toothpaste, chocolate, political parties, credit cards, weight loss pills to internet order brides!

Traveling around the world, observing and absorbing, we can begin to see general patterns in how one side of the world perceived the other. The consequences of a few decades of our media saturated culture seemed to have resulted in some hilarious generalizations, some of which may even have provided the genesis for our social behavior.