Ekta Aggarwal Interview - The Hopper Prize

Ekta Aggarwal

Ekta Aggarwal on pushing boundaries, the meditative aspect of embroidering and creating patterns, and working in a wide range of materials and mediums.

How did you get into making art?

I have always been into art. Even as a small child, I used to lose myself in this world of lines and colours. I became aware very early in my life that I had above average skills in drawing and painting. I am fortunate that my creativity was recognised and encouraged by my family, friends and teachers from a young age.

What are you currently working on?

I am working on a new body of work for my upcoming solo exhibition at Emma Gray HQ in Spring 2024. I am making a series of large textile works by embroidering on Khadi. Alongside I am working on a series of smaller textile paintings by sewing scrap fabric in repetitive patterns on Khadi. I start work on a new series by first making small drawings on Khadi paper. These drawings serve as starting points for the larger works. Sometimes collages and drawings that I made a few years back are also inspiration for new work.

I used to lose myself in this world of lines and colours.

Ekta Aggarwal

What inspired you to get started on this body of work?

I want to push the boundaries of my work, not only in terms of scale but also the way the work is viewed and experienced by the viewer. I don’t want to reveal too much about this new body of work as I would like the work to be seen first. One of the inspirations behind the work is the repetitive meditative aspect of embroidering and creating patterns. I work with scrap fabric and the material that I have in my studio also guides the work.

Do you work on distinct projects or do you take a broader approach to your practice?

I work on distinct projects. I work in a focused way on a series to develop an idea or concept in my mind. I choose materials and mediums like painting, drawing, collage, sewing or embroidery depending on what serves best the idea that I want to evolve in a body of work.

What’s a typical day like in your studio?

My day starts early. In my studio in Delhi, I start working around 9 am. I usually spend the first couple of hours drawing on the works in progress and sewing. Around 11am, my women assistants start coming in. We spend the day embroidering together, talking and listening to music while we work.

Who are your favorite artists?

Peter Davies, Bridget Riley, Anni Albers, James Siena, Katharina Grosse

Where do you go to discover new artists?

One of the ways I discover new artists is by going to see exhibitions in galleries and museums. Social Media especially Instagram is also another way I come across the work of new artists. Sometimes reading books like biographies and catalogs of exhibitions and researching archives has been a way of discovering interesting artists.

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