An online magazine of news and opinions from the Asia New Zealand Foundation

Artist brings the colour of Bangalore streets to Wellington

An exhibition inspired by the colours of the Bangalore streets and the skill of its local craftspeople was on show at Massey University’s The Engine Room gallery, Wellington, this month.

Sian Torrington describes the genisis of her exhibition 'Te Aho Mano/A Thousand Strands' 

Te Aho Mano/A Thousand Strands is the result of artist Sian Torrington’s Asia New Zealand Foundation residency at 1 Shanthi Road gallery in late 2015.

Torrington describes the show as being about “connection, gender, sexuality, and liberation” – issues that came to the fore for Torrington in the male dominated streets of India’s third largest city.

“So this show is a combination of that feeling, of being a woman, of being fiercely female, and my reconnection with my gender queerness on my return,” she says.

Torrington says she also wanted to honour the craftsmanship of the local workers.

“…going there it felt like, you know, I’m not the expert – you’re the expert; I was learning from people there, so that’s what I was excited about.”  

The fabric sculptures Torrington has created utilise scraps of material given to her by women’s tailors working near the residency and reflect the vibrant colours India is renowned for.

“In India, colour is part of life…part of the sacred. So, getting that different perspective was really affirmative for me as an artist, because I use a lot of colour and the significance of all those colours and what they mean for people within that culture was amazing.”

Sian Torrington standing on a scaffold installing her art works

Torrington says residencies such as 1 Shanthi Road help artists develop empathy with other cultures, and share their learnings on their return.

“We’re all part of one world and I think that artists have a really particular gift and potential to bring those things back with us – the people that we meet or the things that we learn – and communicate them through creative practice, which can be easier for people to relate to than other kinds of research.”

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2 May 2017