Local artist and curator, Catherine Parker has a passion for India and its vivid culture. Since being accepted as an Artist in Residence in New Delhi, India in 2005, Catherine has made an annual return trip, each time sharing her experience with fellow artist travellers.
During her 2008 visit, she met Kamal Swami, an Indian artist based in Jaisalmere, Rajasthan, who works in the traditional miniature painting style with local (Mewar – Rajasthan), Mughal and Persian influences. “This style is highly regarded for attention to detail; recording day to day scenes of the country’s vivid customs and culture,” said Catherine.“Visiting India and meeting Swami changed the direction of my own artwork; shrinking from large scale paintings to 30cm square works on board and paper.”
Recently returned from her latest trip, Catherine is now looking forward to welcoming Swami to Toowoomba as Artist in Residence at the University of Southern Queensland. Although the two artists have collaborated on a number of occasions in the past, this will be Swami’s first visit to Toowoomba and indeed, Australia.
Swami has a degree in the ancient language of Sanskrit and Parker a degree in Fine Arts, allowing a certain dialogue that creates dimensional shifts incorporating Catherine’s contemporary influence with Swami’s traditional background. Both artists continue to work outside their comfort zone and although from vastly different backgrounds connect on a deep level of mutual respect, philosophy and a common love of the narrative. “The discipline of working small and collaborating involves intuitively considering the other person; it takes the ‘I’ and the ego out of the process as the prime concern is sharing each other’s vision.”
Catherine and Swami will share their most recent works in an exhibition at the USQ Arts Gallery from 16 April-12 May.
DRAWN TO INDIA will also feature works by other artists who have also travelled to India on Catherine’s art tours. “We have artists from wonderfully diverse backgrounds and their works are an eclectic assortment of art made both during and post tour. Some are spontaneous observations made on the crazy streets of Rajasthan surrounded by elephants, camels, goats, holy men, temples and on the ghats of the holy lake of Pushkar amongst the sacred chanting of prayers, while others are of the peaceful Shekhawati region amongst sari-clad women in mustard fields carrying brass pots and jangling their feminine forms.
‘Our sketchbooks will also be on display – precious jewels of daily drawings, paintings, mini snapshots of life, colour, people, culture, meditations and memoirs.
DRAWN TO INDIA will be officially opened on Tuesday 16 April at 5pm and continues until 9 May in the USQ Arts Gallery. The Gallery is open from 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday and admission is free of charge.
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