Natasha Narain


IMAGE: Natasha Narain, 'Mapping lives' Mixed media and collage on canvas,92x122cm
IMAGE: Natasha Narain, 'Blossoming' Mixed media and collage on canvas,53x65cm
IMAGE: Natasha Narain, 'Nuture' Mixed media and collage on canvas,60x50cm

'My mixed identity as an Australian of South Asian (Indian) heritage, a mother and a researcher, informs my practise. Having spent over twenty years in both countries, and then some in the U.K, I find myself exploring a composite, multiple identity, that becomes a partaker of stories, not just my own.

Open to others, to stories of their life and to family histories, and to unpacking events that have shaped my own world views, I find these interests linking together in lines of text, as markings on surfaces, as collaged in images, as thoughts whilst creating. Reflecting quietly, scratching shadows and rereading history, from perspectives of the other, the vernacular and the feminist. I find myself seeking my own place and wanting to make my own contributions, drawing from the uniqueness of my life experiences- whilst connected to the local, to community and to nurture.

I see my work keeps unfolding as maps that traverse shifting geo political boundaries, with lines that resemble railway lines and roads once travelled. Lines flowing automatically from microcosms within me- that subconsciously travel to macrocosms without, as if to reconnect and to heal from many displacements. That mark atemporal time through lines as stitches, on quilts never ending. A polyphonous renewal with my maternal heritage of the Bengali ‘kantha’ quilts, but in paintings, as a self- reflective hybrid practise.

The making of memory maps and mind maps, and amidst the lines, the many intersections that overlap, of events remembered, stories said and unsaid, emotions, narrations, other lives similar, dissimilar, near or distant, collaged into works, sometimes assimilated, at other times, conspicuously on the surface. A hybrid identity, both my own and my work as an extension of my body and my thoughts, evolving still.

Where automatic drawing allows me to enter a meditative state, creating a composite layered surface, like the patina on old buildings, and from within me an allowing of intergenerational memories to be mined as surfaces build, concurrently drawing from the energy of an Earth mother, as it were.

In sympathy for those caught in conflict having been a bystander myself, I am interested in notions of nurture, resilience, tenacity and care. Solitary walks observing the peeling barks on trees, ants soldiering under the hot sun, ripples and algae past lotuses, birds so many, sounds and spider webs, all reminders of perseverance, tenacity, energies both timeless and ephemeral. Allowing me to feel grateful and to nurture perspectives of help and healing, of a shared humanity that may set aside differences through caring communications?

I seek also, to build a sustainable practise, whereby my practise makes paintings, artists books, dolls as part secular part mythical, cross cultural goddesses, placed in Installations, photographed and re-collaged as ongoing narratives travelling from one work to another in a linked macrocosm.

Curriculum Vitae