A Woven Story for Mother Solo Exhibition – Curated by Girish Shahane

by Kiyomi Talaulicar

An Elegy of Hope

Grief is a double-sided emotion, born of loss but also of love. In her show A Woven Story for Mother, Kiyomi Talaulicar comes to terms with personal loss through art that celebrates the relationships underlying grief. Paradoxically, these testaments to human connection exclude identifiable figures, instead portraying leaves and flowers; walls and floors; bowls and jars; furniture and fabrics. The inferred link between seen objects and unseen persons introduces the dimension of time, producing the woven story of the exhibition’s title.

The narrative centres on Kiyomi’s mother, who passed away in 2019, and who is addressed directly in works like Miss You and As you sat in a garden, watching eternity go by. The artist’s personal bereavement dovetailed with a global catastrophe in the form of the worst pandemic in a century. The sense of fragility and vulnerability engendered by that experience also informs A Woven Story for Mother.

The surface tranquillity of Kiyomi’s paintings is deceptive, concealing complex processes incorporating a variety of media. Whatever medium she chooses, certain concerns remain constant as do the objects she depicts. Receptacles embody a chain of accepting and giving, of openness to new experiences and generosity in providing sustenance. Worn walls tell of vanished beauty and reveal a different allure endowed by the passage of years. They speak of the comfort of home and of belonging. Patterns of fabrics enact a play of sameness and difference, paralleling the contradictory human impulses of blending in and standing out. Leaves mark her preoccupation with cycles of time, whether diurnal, seasonal or annual, of alternating rise and fall. Above and beyond the circles of animal and plant life lie the rhythms of the cosmos, which transcend and subsume all we can imagine and are the source of deep solace.

Girish Shahane