Gods of daily things
Artist Susie Vickery attempts to elevate people on the street to the status of Gods through her artworks that are currently on display at an exhibition, titled EveryDeities
"I would see posters of Gods and film stars adorn prominent walls in market places; I wondered why ordinary people are not given that status," says artist Susie Vickery as she talks about the origin of EveryDeities.
Artworks created in embroidery by artist Susie Vickery
Speaking to us in between her birthday celebrations with women from the slums of Shastri Nagar in Santacruz, Vickery relates the story of her move from London to Nepal and, how Mumbai became her home.
Vickery, who turned 64 yesterday, made costumes for theatre artists in London over a decade ago. She moved to Nepal where she began doing embroidered work. "I was a tailor so I veered to embroidered artworks," she elaborates. She made Nepal her home for seven years after which she shifted to Mumbai.
"My husband is a doctor and he works with women's health projects in rural areas. So, I moved with him. Now, I work on art projects with women.
I have been working with women in Dharavi and Shastri Nagar; we've made lovely artworks together," she adds, overpowered by cheers from women in the background who gathered around her as they tried to feed her a slice of her birthday cake.
Every day affair
The exhibition EveryDieties was born out of another exhibition titled Icons of the Ordinary, which Vickery had worked on many years ago "I worked on various themes post that but felt like returning to it recently," she says.
The artworks on display are not paintings but embroidered work. Portraits of people have been embroidered on cloth and merged with different backgrounds that have been photographed.
"Often, I delete figures from the photograph. I embroider a portrait of someone on cloth and then do portrait transfer of an image and create a hypo-reality. I develop images through collage," she explains.
At the exhibition, look out for images of common people dressed as Gods and Goddesses but portrayed in their everyday setting. "I wanted to raise people living ordinary lives to the status of a deity, keeping their everyday setting as it is. Why shouldn't people be given that status?" she questions.
FROM February 5 to 29
at Bombay Electric, 1 Reay House, BEST Marg, Colaba.
Log on to www.bombayelectric.in CALL 22876276