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Framed
January 19, 2015

Open Secret

Text by Huzan Tata

Themes of nostalgia, identity and migration are explored in Samanta Batra Mehta’s latest works

New York-based artist Samanta Batra Mehta, who works in several disciplines, presents her first solo show in Mumbai, titled A Journey of Secrets. Mehta, born in New Delhi, uses photography, drawings, installations and prints to showcase her visualisations of life. Through her artworks in this show, she recalls her experiences in family history, childhood nostalgia and parenthood. Mehta’s works also explore gender constructs, sociocultural order and post-colonial theory, and as an Indian-born artist who is now settled abroad, she touches upon the issues of identity, dislocation and migration.

5 Questions with the artist, Samanta Batra Mehta

  1. Artistic Motivations “All of us have a primary need to express ourselves. My own need for expression translates into art-making. Art is my means of making sense of the world.”
  2. Inspirations “I’m inspired by people who have a relentless drive and energy to pursue their vision and life’s calling despite limiting circumstances, and by those who balance every aspect of their lives with élan, especially other mom artists, writers, and achievers who have so many competing demands.”
  3. On the wall at home “The works of Shahzia Sikander, Seher Shah, Dhruvi Acharya, Anupam Sud, Gogi Saroj Pal, Laxma Goud, Badrinarayan feature in my collection, among others. I would so love to own works by Nilima Sheikha, Arpita Singh, Rashid Rana, Mithu Sen, Rekha Rodwittiya and Faiza Butt.”
  4. Concerns that find a place in your art “I investigate themes in personal history, gender constructs, socio-political order and colonisation. In my works, the ideas of body and land are used interchangeably, where both are sites for germination, growth, nourishment but also transgression, colonisation and control.”
  5. If not an artist, you would be…“An artist will always find a means to express…be it in the fields of writing, entrepreneurship, social work, medicine or family!”

A Journey of Secrets will be on display at Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai (6/19, Grants Building, 2nd Floor, Arthur Bunder Road, Colaba) until February 14, 2015.

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