Presented by Arts House
Wednesday 1 March – Thursday 21 December
Mon – Fri, 11am – 4pm
North Melbourne Town Hall
521 Queensberry St,
Most of the time as an artist I am buried in the studio, smeared in material and deep in the chaos of the worlds I create in my paintings. My work is so physically involved that I was curious if a printed image could retain the energy of witnessing the work in the flesh. It appears that the scale of these photographs allows me to magnify the moments I enjoy— the dense layering, the expansion of some pigments when added to tar and coagulation of others, the addition of wax, the lustre of gold and the skin of the surfaces that are formed.
My work, like myself, is informed by anti-caste consciousness. I question the legacy of caste, colonisation and the structures I have inherited not only in the politicised world around me, but the internalisation of these codes within me. The materials are an extension of that process of learning and unlearning. But they are also free of it. Creating in the studio is about joy, freedom and power. It is informed by the space of caste and patriarchy and it is indeed a political act but it is also far beyond– it is a timeless dance and truly untainted by it. Through these materials I access that which has survived through my ancestry, the tremendous resilience of Dalit peoples, our stories and ancient traditions.
The materials shown are details of the alchemical world of my paintings- they are wax, gold, with tar, shellac, scorched linoleum, and other raw and industrial items. They are the way that I think through caste and through the history of oppression to continually find the limitless joy, the passion and celebration that has accompanied the immeasurable loss.
– Kirtika Kain, 2023
About the artist