by Shraddha NairPublished on : Aug 08, 2022
Surekha Sharada is a contemporary artist who lives and works in Bangalore, India. Sharada has been a creative practitioner for over two decades, exploring formats like video, installation and photography. Her work investigates how the visual medium can engage with gender, ecology and socio-political aesthetics. The artist has showcased her work at Kunstraum Kreuzberg (Germany), Ulrich Museum of Art (USA), Kiran Nadar Museum of Art and Chemould Prescott Road in India, and several other locations globally. She has been involved in visual art collectives like BAR1, Khoj and was a founder curator of Rangoli Metro Art Center in Bangalore. Her work was recently on view at 1 Shanti Road in Bangalore – a solo exhibition titled Is Today Better Than Yesterday. The artist catches up with STIR to share more.
Sharada studied art at Santiniketan, a renowned college for art in West Bengal, which exposed her to new ways of thinking and approaching art. The artist tells us, “For me art is an opportunity to witness and experience the way we all live, how we think and perceive the world around us. My work is experimental, performative and semi documentary in nature. It is connected to the day-to-day spaces that are very intimate and also very often contain a strong political subtext.” Her days at Santiniketan helped her appreciate “the mundaneness of the grass-root level of being,” the undercurrents of which continue to show up in her work.
When Sharada began her practice, she was focused on paintings, drawings and installations. In one of her earlier works, she creates a series of costumes, mapping the sinews and fragile structure of the human form, exploring clothing as a metaphor for the body. This extended her practice into the space of gendered body politics, and she continued to make and photograph the costumes she crafted. She says, “One of the prominent dimensions I have addressed in the last decade is about bringing together deviant artistic preoccupations, in order to arrive at a cohesive, complementary nature of concepts-material-ideologue nexus.”
The showcase at 1 Shanti Road is conceived as the artist’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The installations and video works on display are the artist’s expression of her own experience in dealing with notions of loss and mortality, which were brought to our doorstep during the global lockdowns of 2020. Her installation The Lost Pair references landmark events of the past, like COVID-19 and the World War Two. It shows us the debris of the human race – what traces will be left behind after the disaster, not dissimilar to what we witnessed in concentration camps across Europe which persecuted the Jewish community. The artist shares further saying, “Telling contemporary stories of lived experiences and loss through used and ephemeral objects has been addressed in most of my works. People who are aware of Auschwitz will see the shoes and remember the Holocaust. Of course, that was a planned genocide whereas our situation in India was different. Having said that, here too there was a sense that everything in our surroundings was suffering from breathlessness – including the economy. Life became suffocating and the migrant workers faced the worst of it.” 
The sculptural installation, which takes up prime focus at the exhibition, comprises a pile of shoes and slippers gathered by the artist from construction sites across the city. It serves as a reminder of the displacement and desperation we witnessed among migrants across India. The artist says, “When I started collecting the shoes, I also thought of how these worn out and damaged objects referred to the earth; through their colours of brown, black, grey and white, they brought to mind construction workers and their ongoing everyday struggles. Instigated by the trying times during the pandemic, to intervene and document ‘my’ time around the altered idea of the fragility of human touch. The crux of this work suggests the quest for options: a choice of making a living or being alive.” The pandemic took Sharada to a reflective and introspective space, affecting her sense of being and self in an unpredictable way. The bare and minimal curation by Sharada at 1 Shanti Road is a reflection of the intimate and honest process she undergoes as an artist. The space is transformed into the living room of her own state of mind during the production of this body of work. She says, “I started observing nature for inspiration and video documented the clouds, birds and ants’ activities during these surreal times. It became a ritual, every morning, to observe these relentless hardworking ants, these little creatures, trying to find meaning in surviving.” The Lost Pair is shown alongside Ant Tales, a single-channel, multi-screen video installation as well as photographs, text montages and wood-cut prints.
by Dilpreet BhullarSep 05, 2022
by Urvi KothariSep 04, 2022
by Vidur SethiAug 20, 2022
Shraddha Nair
Shraddha is a writer and curator based in Bengaluru, India. Her curatorial practice is a method by which she negotiates with and navigates the complexities of human behaviour, an interest which flows into her writing as well. She believes that art and collective experience hold immense capacity in the cultivation and development of action and emotion.
Shraddha is a writer and curator based in Bengaluru, India. Her curatorial practice is a method by which she negotiates with and navigates the complexities of human behaviour, an interest which flows into her writing as well. She believes that art and collective experience hold immense capacity in the cultivation and development of action and emotion.
by Sukanya Deb Sep 09, 2022
The photographic series documents the ongoing crisis in Lebanon, looking at the everyday and the event of traumas encountered, and how a population can begin to respond.
by Dilpreet Bhullar Sep 08, 2022
For NOW Gallery’s 2022 Art Commission, the Korean artist has created an immersive installation, Maiden Voyage, inspired by memories, dreams, emotions, and her personal experience.
by Sukanya Deb Sep 07, 2022
The exhibition Totem at Fondaco Marcello in Venice explores the notion of a fragmented reality through a dis-assemblage sculpture, exploring the art object in veneration.
by Dilpreet Bhullar Sep 05, 2022
The site-specific installation The Hop, a new commission by Jyll Bradley at the Hayward Gallery, reimagines the cultural history of the 20th century London.
by Manu Sharma Aug 01, 2022
by STIRworld Jun 15, 2022
by Jerry Elengical Jul 22, 2022
by Anmol Ahuja Jul 29, 2022
by Zohra Khan Jul 27, 2022
get regular updates SIGN UP
© Copyright 2019-2022 STIR Design Private Limited. All rights reserved.
Don’t have an account?
Or you can join with
Please confirm your email address and we’ll send you a link to reset your password
Already signed up?
Don’t have an account?

with us and you can:
All your bookmarks will be available across all your devices from anywhere on the globe.
Already signed up?
Or you can join with
Your preferences have been successfully saved to your profile.
Please select your profession for an enhanced experience.
Tap on things that interests you.
by Zohra Khan Aug 15, 2022
by Jerry Elengical Jul 15, 2022
by Sunena V Maju Aug 20, 2022
by Nadezna Siganporia Jul 18, 2022
by Sunena V Maju Aug 22, 2022
Select the Conversation Category you would like to watch
Please enter your details and click submit.


Shop Sephari