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Printmaking: Monotype, Woodcut, Paper on Paper.
I am a second generation Indian. For second generation children you are culturally raised in an Indian household, you eat different food and wear different clothes to family events; but then you grow up with American values. In my case I married an American man. We had two ceremonies and we were sure we were integrated, modern, and completely on the same page. But then, I was asked to change my name, Gupta a classically generical Indian name, part of a dynasty I do not even belong to. But I could not do it. because I was also a Jaipuria. I remember the story of how my mother married a man she did not know and left her entire world to come here. She left a world as a loved and treasured daughter, and took on one where her role was as a “wife”. And changed Jaipuria to Gupta. For second generation children there is sense of guilt of never having been there to be a part of the choices their parents made for them. Maybe it is this guilt, and curiosity that makes us so hungry to connect to our heritage. I know my Jaipuia family. They showed me India and told me stories.. So much of the family I loved; the Jaipurias never had a chance to be there for me when I had unfortunately still experienced some of what my mother had come here to protect me from. I will always wish I could be in two places at once, and that they could have played a larger role in my life.
This year, my husband and I went back to see both sides of my mother’s ancestral home. I had heard about it, but seeing it is something so different. It was enormous with two courtyards that opened to every room. It encompassed a massive enmeshed Indian family living tightly together within these common shared spaces. My family was in textiles. I have taught myself natural dyeing and block printing. A process that takes days. But as an artist this is how I explore my heritage. But my medium was always paper, it has a grain and a direction like fabric. But while fabric is utilitarian, paper is for writing stories and containing memories. These prints take colors from the walls, motifs, and the doors of those ancestral homes. I used a woodblock, but printed it with water based ink so the colors were aqueous and full. Water is used in every step of creating textiles in India. I layered the colors, and used the water to make drips and layers, and I used stenciling and techniques used on fabric to pick up remnants of ink on already printed blocks. I’m not in two places at once but I can remember what I saw, and commemorate who I am through my own hybrid artistic process.
Artist featured by Saatchi Art in a collection