[Many thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.] The title of this review by Ray Mark Rinaldi (The Denver Post), covering a recent exhibition by Guyanese artist Suchitra Mattai, is “Artist Suchitra Mattai’s latest exhibit takes a hard look at a difficult year, and envisions a path forward.”
Suchitra Mattai’s solo exhibition “Innocence and Everything After” opened on July 18, and will continue through September 5, 2020, at K Contemporary Gallery (1412 Wazee Street, Denver, Colorado). Here are excerpts; read full article and interview at The Denver Post.
Suchitra Mattai is having a well-deserved moment. The prolific Denver artist is fresh off two career-making appearances in internationally-watched exhibitions and, right now, she’s the focus of a one-person show at Lower Downtown’s K Contemporary gallery.
Mattai’s art has a striking visual appeal, tapping recycled materials inspired by her family’s history of continent-crossing migration, which stretches from India to Guyana to the United States. She combines colorful saris, rugs, fabrics, furniture, feathers and prints into layered works that are finished off by her own hand through embroidery, crochet and, of course, paint.
She transforms those elements into pieces that tell personal stories, while highlighting the difficult, overlooked journeys of migrants as they cross — not always by choice — from one place and culture and to another, and perhaps another. “I am interested in giving voice to people whose voices were historically quieted,” she says.
We checked in with Mattai, following her recent showings at the respected Sharjah Biennial in the United Arab Emirates and the State of the Art 2020 group exhibition at the renowned Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville, Ark., where her show-stopping “Exodus” — a 40-foot-long,15-foot-tall piece made from woven, used saris — was purchased by the museum for its permanent collection. [. . .]
[. . .] Q: So many of the objects that you make connect to your personal narrative and the story of your family.
A: I was born in Georgetown, Guyana, a tiny country next to Venezuela and Brazil that was a British colony until 1966. Two generations back, my family members lived in northeast India and were brought to Guyana as indentured laborers to work on sugar plantations. I am interested in the ideas of “belonging” and “home” because of my family’s many migrations during such a short period of time.
Q: You repeat their stories of migration in your art, both physical and cultural. What’s the motivation?
A: I hope that my work and research can speak to larger issues of migration and displacement. I make work about what is close to me but with the goal that it speaks to broader contemporary issues surrounding race, gender, labor, etc. [. . .]
[The exhibit is free but advance, timed tickets are required due to the current pandemic. Info at kcontemporaryart.com or 303 -590-9800.]
To read full article and interview, see https://theknow.denverpost.com/2020/07/28/suchitra-mattai-k-contemporary/242374
[First photo above by Ray Mark Rinaldi, special to The Denver Post: Suchitra Mattai at the opening of “Innocence and Everything After” at K Contemporary gallery. The event took place during Denver’s city-wide order to wear masks in public spaces. Mattai stands next to her piece, “Self-portrait as I Was and as I am.” Second photo by Wes Magyar: “Breathing Room,” which incorporates vintage saris, driftwood and table legs.]
Solo Exhibition “Innocence and Everything After”
July 18 – September 5, 2020
K Contemporary Gallery
1412 Wazee Street, Denver CO 80202
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