Hometown: Bhubaneswar, Bombay, N. Delhi
Based in: Ahmedabad, India
I am an academic, artist, poet and educator based currently in Ahmedabad, India. I have been doing art since the age of three and decided to make my art public only a few years back. My art is expressionist, feminist and draws from personal experiences, struggles and research work. As my academic research is centred on the idea of the body, its politics, genealogies and relationship with visuality, my art has always already been engaging with questions of bodily limits, lack thereof and a fusion and profusion of boundaries with regard to embodied identity and experience. The body as a boundless, fluid un-structure which is consistently and repeatedly produced through discipline and power and resists that structuring is an idea that is channelled in much of my work. The trope of the flower emerges repeatedly as an undefinable, deeply individual and anti-rationalist symbol of beauty which is apprehended or experienced through an abandoning of reason and an embracing of intuition. As a woman artist in a country where women are rewriting history as much as being targeted for having a self, painting about women's bodies, their freedom and through a methodology that is marked with resistance in its use of abstraction, irreverent use of colour and form, and celebration of non-discipline porosity of boundaries between form, is in itself an act of resistance. Much of what I teach, Literature in English, Women's Writing, Contemporary Theory and Film Studies is tied up in the same endeavour to engage young minds in the critique of power, the ability to analyse form and its interwoven relationship with content, both textually and visually and locate sites of desire, voice and resistance of marginal cultures and subjectivities. My poetry and art often speak together and they are the voice and tool for unpacking power, for writing and sketching the most visceral points of my imagination, embodied experiences and philosophical adventures. As a feminist, my work is always foremost in the service of the celebration of women's right to tell their own stories, speak truth to power and remind us that the personal is indeed always the political.
"Birthing mountains with a piece of charcoal, forming rivers with ink. © Sonali Pattnaik"