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 labor during the 19th Century, Suchitra 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 women and employ practices and materials associated with the domestic sphere such as embroidery, weaving, various fiber elements, etc. Suchitra 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 my own personal narrative. 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.
Suchitra’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. Suchitra 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.
Suchitra Mattai received an MFA in painting and drawing and an MA in South Asian art, from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. Recent projects include a commission for the Sharjah Biennial 14, inclusion in “State of the Art 2020” at Crystal Bridges Museum/the Momentary, a Denver Art Museum/Biennial of the Americas jointly sponsored installation, and the Center for Visual Arts, Metropolitan State University of Denver (Denver, CO). Her work has been reviewed/included in publications and on-line platforms such as Hyperallergic, Document Journal, Widewalls, Cultured Magazine, the Denver Post, and Wallpaper Magazine and is in the collections of Crystal Bridges Museum, the Denver Art Museum, the TiA Collection, Bonfils-Stanton, Wake Forest University and the Taylor Art Collection.
"In Alter Ego (2020), Mattai combines found materials with applique and intricate painting to render visible the often disparate, yet intertwined cultures and histories she investigates. There’s so much depth in the details of this work." - Leilani Lynch, Untitled Art
Suchitra Mattai Featured in The Denver Post
“Her solo show at K Contemporary is a must-see right now”
-Ray Mark Rinaldi, Special to the Denver Post, July 2020
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