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July 28, 2017

Chinmoyi Patel On Attempting To Understand Time Through Her Art

Text By Tina Dastur

“I am constantly amazed, inspired and humbled by how much I can learn from my students”

A new-media artist, Chinmoyi Patel dabbles in painting, video and sculptural installation.  Speaking about her practice, she explains, “My work uses various forms of play, humour, appropriation and collaborations to present personal stories, memories, histories and experiences of the changing rhythms of urban life in a more abstract and fictionalised manner. I’m interested in questioning the linearity of time; by fictionalising or abstracting an event or happening, it provides another dimension to how we view and live time.”

For the most part, Chinmoyi participates in group projects – her recent ones being Cornered Stories (an online project) and Home (at Chatterjee and Lal, Mumbai), both in 2015 – and explains what excites her most about this approach. “There are different points of view and methods of working, and this can be very productive since it challenges you to think outside of your comfort zones. That said, I think it is also a bit tricky because it is all about negotiating dynamics and it can be a disaster if there is no level of understanding between collaborators,” she reasons. Chinmoyi attributes her growing success as an artist to being open and observant, but she also insists that “only by practising does one understand a medium and the possibilities within it in order to develop it further”.

Currently, the 32-year-old Vadodara-based artist is busy curating a selection of films and videos that identify what it is to practise in a dynamic environment like India, commissioned by the Borough of Camden, London. Simultaneously, she is also working on one of her most challenging projects yet – that involves an incident in her grandparents’ lives during the Emergency. Away from her art, her free time is spent teaching. A part-time professor at the department of fine arts, Veer Narmad South Gujarat University in Surat, she says, “I am constantly amazed, inspired and humbled by how much I can learn from my students. Teaching keeps me engaged and challenges me to re-evaluate, rethink and relearn,” she states.

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