What do you do when you find yourself buried under piles of heavy rubble after feeling the ground violently shaking from a 7.7 earthquake. This is what happened to Raghu back in 2001 in Gujarat, India. Already an accomplished artist, curator and teacher at Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology in Bangalore, his response to this traumatic experience was to draw and paint his way forward towards mending. He has since been working on an ever evolving series called "Mending Cracks".
These watercolours shown on his computer the tell the story of the Broken.
The broken buildings of Gujarat.
A broken tea pot, a simple everyday item rendered suddenly useless.
Broken Buddha statues. So much destruction, so much dislocation and so much to re build and re imagine.
This latest series (below) drawn free hand then painted on thin plywood, depicts a universal Trauma, Memory and Healing. The sparse stamped words below hint at a possible story but the imagery is ambiguous enough to be freely interpreted. Raghu identifies and empathizes with all struggles people go through.
He moved to Vancouver, Canada in 2011 with his wife and in 2016 he curated an art show through SACHA (South Asian Canadian Histories Association)to celebrate Indigenous peoples and new Canadians. He envisioned all of their voices working together, sharing their imagery and ideas.'
I became a PR of Canada in 2012 but my wife Anne Murphy, a New Yorker of Irish descent was here since 2006 as a prof with Dept of Asian Studies at UBC. I met her in 2010 on music project in Vancouver and where they got married! the rest is good.
This image here painted by Sonny Assu, a Ligwilda'xw Kwakwaka'wakw contemporary artist, was the multi-layered cover painting for the show. It shows a portrait from his Indigenous heritage, in front of a beautiful mandala from India and a Google Map pointer on the cedar head covering.
Raghu has recently returned from curating a large show in India where he showed a large 8 panelled piece made of handmade paper illustrated with thin strips of gauze that express the hand surgeries he had to have to repair his earthquake crushed hand and shoulder.'
This show was in 2016 Dec in Bangalore, India. He recently returned after curating a group show titled 'Creative Interruptions; Beyond Borders' His work was a video installation and there were artists from Mauritus, France and different parts of India. This exhibition was a result of two artist in residency programs at Preetnagar Residency in Punjab. https://creativeinterruptions.com/preet-nagar-mela-cultural-festival-amritsar-india/
Raghu believes and lives the act of working and creating together. Accepting and celebrating our differences is an honourable way toward the process of Mending.
We all have stories of mending to tell and to listen to.