Colour, Stone, Chintz, Grain and Statue Dual Solo – Curated by Sumesh Manoj Sharma

by Revati Sharma Singh and Raj Shahani

Grains have traversed continents for millennia, symbolizing abundance and sustenance. Yet, they also carry bitter memories of famines, such as the Bengal famine during India’s colonial history. Revati Sharma Singh, an artist based in London, weaves these narratives into expansive canvases, portraying the diasporic experiences of individuals like herself and others spread across the globe.

Revati’s art delves into the complexities of diaspora life, capturing the essence of longing rather than mere nostalgia. Her journey from Himachal Pradesh to Delhi and finally London shapes her artistic expression, infusing her work with elements of her cultural heritage and personal experiences. Through vibrant patterns and colors, she creates visual narratives that speak to the interconnectedness of identity and place in a diasporic context.

Drawing inspiration from indigenous agricultural practices and the architectural heritage of Himachal Pradesh, Revati’s canvases become a reflection of her roots and a celebration of her cultural identity. Her exploration of chintz patterns, rooted in India’s rich textile history, serves as a form of decolonial repair, reclaiming narratives and visual aesthetics that have been appropriated and commodified.

Raj Shahani, hailing from Bombay and now residing in New York, brings his own perspective to the diasporic narrative. As a queer artist, Raj’s work is deeply intertwined with themes of identity, belonging, and the quest for beauty. His sculptures, inspired by ancient Indian art forms like the Apsaras, seek to restore wholeness and dignity to fragmented representations of queerness in art history.

Through his use of glass and traditional sculpting techniques, Raj breathes new life into ancient forms, challenging conventional notions of beauty and completeness. His sculptures become a testament to resilience and the power of art to heal and empower marginalized communities.

Together, Revati Sharma Singh and Raj Shahani’s dual exhibition, “Colour, Stone, Grain, Chintz, and Statue,” serves as a journey of self-discovery and cultural reclamation. Through their art, they invite viewers to reflect on the complexities of diaspora, memory, and belonging in an increasingly globalized world. As they travel back to their roots, they bring with them a renewed sense of connection and pride in their cultural heritage, bridging the gap between past and present, home and diaspora.