Suchitra Mattai is a multi-disciplinary artist who uses a mixed-media approach to explore how memory allows us to unravel and re-imagine historical narratives.
Suchitra Mattai is a multi-disciplinary artist who uses a mixed-media approach to explore how memory allows us to unravel and re-imagine historical narratives. Her primary pursuit is to give voice to people whose voices were once quieted. Using both her own family’s ocean migrations and research on the period of colonial indentured labour during the 19th Century, Mattai expands our sense of “history.” Re-writing this colonial history contributes to contemporary dialogue by making visible the struggles and perseverance of those who lived it. She often focuses on the experiences of women and employs practices and materials associated with the domestic sphere such as embroidery, weaving and various fibre elements.
Mattai re-imagines vintage and found materials that have a rich past as a way of creating a dialogue with the original makers and the time periods in which they were cherished as well as a means of navigating her own personal narrative. For example, she often uses vintage saris as a way of connecting women of the South Asian diaspora from around the world. Thinking about colonization in Guyana and the rest of the Caribbean is a way of tracing her family’s history in Guyana and India and of fostering discussion around contemporary issues surrounding gender and labor.
Mattai’s process is one of reconciliation. Combining, re-contextualizing, and reconfiguring disparate materials is a way of making sense of the world around her and the multiple cultural spheres that she inhabits as an Indo-Caribbean American. Mattai creates two-dimensional works, installations, and sculptures that allow disparate found objects and hand-made objects to cohabitate, reflecting the multi-dimensionality of culture and community.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Suchitra Mattai is a multi-disciplinary artist who was born in Guyana, South America. Her work communicates the complexities of living amidst multiple cultural spheres and explores how individual and collective memory allows us to unravel dominant historical narratives. Recent projects include a commission for the Sharjah Biennial 14, inclusion in “State of the Art 2020” at Crystal Bridges Museum/the Momentary and a Denver Art Museum/Biennial of the Americas jointly sponsored installation. Upcoming projects include solos at Building Bridges Art Exchange (Los Angeles) and the Boise Museum of Art (Idaho) and a group exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto). Her work is in museum and private collections including Crystal Bridges Museum, the Denver Art Museum, and the TIA Collection. Suchitra received an MFA in Painting and Drawing and an MA in South Asian art, both from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.