As we adjust to a new normal, Mumbai artist Sameer Kulavoor hosts an international workshop on ‘object talk'
A potted plant, a small shed seen from your window — using these, artist Sameer Kulavoor wants you to re-examine your relationship with your surroundings. Based in Mumbai, he is excited to present at an international virtual workshop organised by Today At Apple and It's Nice That, under the theme ‘New World' – pretty apt, considering we are adjusting to a wholly different norm. As an artist, this gives him an interesting playground for new ideas. And he's starting with the workshop that kicks off on March 4 at 7 pm.
As the workshop is oriented around his latest project ‘You Are All Caught Up', Sameer will start with a keynote to get people familiarised with other projects too like ‘This Is Not A Still Life' which was showcased at India Art Fair 2020.
“I want people to re-contextualise their everyday observations to create artwork ultimately,” he explains. He takes the example of some art he did on bicycles of India. “People use them in a variety of ways, personalising and customising them for daily use. Cycling as a concept is so common in India but we miss it amid the bustle in the city backdrop. In that project, I extracted around 28 drawings of these different cycles. That said, I'm urging people to see the objects and the people and places that surround the objects, and see if there's a way to re-imagine them in a new way.”
A piece from ‘This Is Not A Still Life' by Sameer Kulavoor
The workshop this evening is set to have personal overtones for Sameer. He will be using his own images as references while using his own sketchbooks – his first-ever sketchbook from 1990, to be specific. “My career began with that sketchbook,” he recalls. “I had an art teacher back in this suburban school in Bombay, who had become my neighbour. So I'd go to her home and she'd show me her sketchbooks and I remember thinking ‘wow' about how someone could draw so well.” The art teacher left eight months later and gifted Sameer his first sketchbook, and he keeps it close by.
But with the sketchbook being an analogue and hands-on item, a tablet such as the iPad – the medium for his workshop this evening – is still digital. Sameer agrees to an extent, explaining how his approach is somewhat reverse, due to the complexity of his work. He explains, “Some of my work comes from my photo bank and the notes I make in my sketchbook – these come together in my final work which may be acrylic on canvas or something else. But at some point, I look at the photographs and I cut out parts of them and create collages or compositions on my iPad or MacBook. This is a testing ground for my final work; I use technology but it only comes at the concept stages of my art. Only then, I use my analogue mediums and tools.”
Register for the free workshop ‘Virtual Studio: Reimagine Your Environment with Sameer Kulavoor' here.