TDC Must Know Artist: Shailee Mehta
Shailee Mehta’s artistic practice extrapolates memory and nostalgia into a wider context of history, mythology and contemporary society, by situating figurations of femininity as the central operative motif.
Taking a cue from the abjection and otherness of the female form, she chooses to depict narratives (and counter-narratives) that question how human beings grapple with the ‘I’ & the other, the inside & the outside, the subject & the object.
Within the context of the painting surface, the question of narratives and storytelling continues to be a point of interest for me. Historically speaking, artists, particularly in South-Asia, have chosen non-linearity over single frames, challenging conventional perspectives in a two-dimensional space.
Shailee approaches storytelling to include not just fiction proverbs and religious mythology for their narrative capacity that holds symbolism as the primary tool. These structures overlap through familiar motifs of the public & the private and props & objects that create a simulacrum for self-referencing mythologies.
The other-worldly form and colour of the figures, their awkwardness, togetherness-yet-resignation towards their surroundings reflect this otherness, where the lines between the spectacle and the spectators are blurred. The friction between the traditional and the modern, which materialises itself in various forms, such as goddess worship in a casteist Hindu society vis-à-vis the tangible political and cultural threats to the ordinary woman in India, is another corollary of my larger interest in womanhood.
This existential duality can also be reflected in domestic life, where the presence of a woman’s body is rejected and praised at the same time.
About the Artist:
Born in Indore (India, 1998), Shailee Mehta completed her Foundation Diploma from UAL, London in 2015 and her BFA at The Slade School of Fine Art in 2020. She has been part of various group shows including STOMACH, Hoxton Arches Gallery (London 2017), AIRGENTUM Hoja de Ruta Residency (Spain 2018), AucArt Exhibition and Sale (2020). Her most recent shows include the group exhibition "All Is Not Lost" at Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai (2020) and the solo show "In The Belly of A Slovenly Crow" at The Residence Gallery, London (2020). Mehta currently lives and works out of Mumbai.