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Ekta Aggarwal: At Home
December 12, 2020 - January 23, 2021Free
We are delighted to present “At Home” by Ekta Aggarwal. It came about after a cancelled studio visit in New York as the Pandemic spread, we continued our discussion over WhatsApp via Los Angeles and New Delhi, India. This exhibition is the result of our persistence and common interests. Ekta in her own words explains how she came to embroider words for the first time, and her specific use of local and historical materials.
“I use Khadi, handspun cotton made by women in villages in India, as the base of my paintings. Khadi was an initiative of Mahatma Gandhi to resist the British who were using India as a market for their goods. Mahatma Gandhi encouraged people to spin one hour a day; spinning also functioned as a form of daily meditation.
The lockdown, imposed by the Indian government to curb the spread of COVID-19, created a space for me to slow down, introspect and make the work that I have wanted to make for a long time. Over the past few months, I have been making collages with scrap fabric on Khadi Paper and embroidering on Khadi. Handwork like embroidery has been the means of educating women into the feminine ideal but at the same time it also proved a weapon of resistance to the constraints of femininity as it provides women with a set of skills that can be utilized for self empowerment. My work usually engages with abstraction and patterns but during the lockdown I started work on a series where I am embroidering words that have been important to me on my journey as a woman. These words have been coming to surface due to the healing process that has been set in motion by self isolation, a result of social distancing. They are part of the cleansing process that I am going through as situations are coming up for healing.”
Ekta Aggarwal is a multidisciplinary artist based in Delhi. She has an MFA in Art from California Institute of the Arts, an MA in Fine Art from Chelsea College of Arts, University of the Arts London, and a BA (Honours) in Economics from Hindu College, University of Delhi. Ekta wants to create a space for a bodily experience through her paintings. She wants the viewer to slow down. As an Indian artist, she is interested in working with local small businesses and handmade, natural materials. She has received several awards and scholarships, including the Diversity Grant, Provost’s Merit Scholarship and 2017 Hybrid Incubator for Visionary Entrepreneurs from California Institute of the Arts, Workshop with Hochschule Fur Bildende Kunste, among others. Ekta’s work has been shown in Los Angeles, Copenhagen, London, and Delhi. She has participated in residencies at Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar and the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts.