Suman Gujral – Featured Artist of the Month

Written by Kirke Raava

On September 1, 2018

1) How would you describe your current practice (e.g. materials, techniques, themes, key questions, approach)?
I am a printmaker. I have just finished my MA in Fine Art. When I started it, the focus of my research was the Partition of India and how it had affected my family and also all aspects of life on the Subcontinent. I am currently making work about the migrant crisis and the similarities between the past and the present in terms of people being displaced. At the moment, I am working with monoprint and etching. My approach is abstract.

2) What are you working on at the moment (forthcoming exhibitions, events, workshops etc.)?
I have a solo show coming up at St Albans Museum Gallery from 23/11/18 to 3/2/19.

3) What are your plans for the coming year?
I am considering whether to do a practice phD. I am going to continue to research into the migrant crisis and raise awareness of the difficulties faced by people who are being forcibly displaced by conflict and climate change.

4) What is the question you get asked most about your work and how do you answer it?
I get asked why this subject interests me and how I think I can make a difference. My interest started with realising how the profound effect that Partition had had on my mother. She had to leave her home and friends etc. when she was 13 and many of her family were killed. I began to see the similarities with the current global migration crisis. I am making a difference because I am starting conversations about this through my work and so raising awareness about the fact that1 person is being forcibly displaced every 2 seconds, according to the UNHCR.

5) What or who inspired you to be an artist and why?
6) Which artist do you most admire and why?
My icon is Zarina Hashmi. She is now 84 and was also displaced by Partition. She has been making work about notions of home , belonging and loss for the decades. Her latest exhibition called Dark Roads looks at Partition and the current refugee crisis. I would like to remain so engaged and relevant when I am 84!I also admire Mona Hatoum, and Thomas Kilpper. They both male work about the human condition which I find fascinating. Kilpper has also made the largest woodcut ever made- measuring 400sqm. That is an amazing achievement. I like Rothko and Vermeer because of the way that they use colour and the serenity their work inspires.

7) How has your relationship with Digswell Arts Trust strengthened your practice as an artist?
The other artists are amazing- sharing ideas and helping solve problems. The Trustees have been very supportive.

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