‘As we looked at her straw bag, filled with balls of wool and an unfinished piece of knitting, and at her blotting pad, her scissors, her thimble, emotion rose up and drowned us. Everyone knows the power of things: life is solidified in them, more immediately present than in any one of its instants.’
Simone de Beauvoir, A Very Easy Death.
Being at the RCA has enabled me to pause my trajectory and reflect on my practice, allowing space for new ideas to feed back into my work.
Currently, my work is based around exploring ways to articulate notions emerging from my dissertation and the recent death of my father.
My reflections have centred on the themes of memory, grief, and exploring Indo-Caribbean diasporic identity, which, particularly since the Windrush era, has morphed into a hybrid, crafted by different cultures.
My approach became increasingly intuitive during my first year, allowing the materials to influence the results. The projects were generative processes and a huge catalyst for shoots of ideas which have taken root this year.
This year has been about gathering – remnants, words, experiences.
I've been investigating using layers to reflect disintegration and renewal, suggesting a tapestry of memories, showing traces of what was there before.
I'm looking at how objects can embody these concepts and exploring the connections between personal and collective memories; I'm trying to give form to something intangible and using residue and remnants, fractures and erosion, to embody fragments of memories, decay and time.
I'm seeking to create objects that look like they have been found rather than created and looking at disrupting familiar notions of porcelain, pushing the material to its limits, to the point of collapse, distorting it, yet holding onto something familiar.
The distortions, the broken edges and the fractured glazes suggest a narrative.
What connects the pieces are the qualities of fragility.
‘For me, identity is an ever-evolving culmination of the past, present and desires for the future, but when your people’s history and by extension your own is practically erased, the understanding of one’s identity is inherently limited. This longing to find those missing pieces, is what drives my art.’
Renluka Maharaj (Artist)