Thursday, August 17, 2006

Artist Statement

At the end of 2005 my husband Deep and I packed up our 2 kids, Nayan and Ananya for a six week trip to Punjab, the north Indian state where both of our families originate. Deep was born in Madison, and I was born in Victoria. We’ve both travelled to India several times. The focus of this trip was to simply spend time with family, and for Deep and I to paint.

We lived with our cousins on their farm just outside the city of Jallandhar and went to town every day to our Masi’s (maternal aunt’s) house to draw, paint, photograph and absorb Jallandhar. Masi’s rooftop became our temporary studio.

When I begin a new body of work I am never sure what direction it will take. My previous paintings began with either colorful silk fabrics, family photos, or found papers randomly collaged. Perhaps the chaos of Jallandhar itself directed the calmness and loneliness in these paintings.

I have always been interested in everyday street scenes; our drive into the city every morning and the view from Masi’s roof are immedietly inspiring. The city itself and our families' ancestral villages are my focus -- the “raidee’s,” or street vendor’s carts, which offer everything from fruits and vegetables to parrot pundits that predict your future -- pastel painted concrete houses enclosed behind ornate iron gates and fences -- rooftops cluttered with water tanks, television antennae, electrical wires, drying laundry, folding cots and patio chairs -- fading yellow ochre walls with cerulean blue padlocked doors belonging to families long gone abroad -- fresh strings of peppers and a solitary lemon hung every saturday morning to protect against the evil eye. Welcome to Jallandhar.

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