© Sagarika Sundaram

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Sagarika Sundaram

New York, New York

Artist Statement

I create felted tapestries that investigate the materiality of wool and its relationship to human biology and psyche. I treat felted textile like a body – rupturing the flat surface, revealing what lies beneath layers – the sexual, painful, ugly, beautiful – interrogating what it means to be both of and alien to this world. I use abstraction to reinterpret textile as mutant, botanical, and psychedelic forms. By estranging what is familiar, I create work that possesses its own unique life.

The birth of this work begins before felting or weaving, even before dyeing. It begins with the relationships to the places, plants, animals and people that are connected to the raw fibre. I trace the lineage of fibre directly from pastoral nomadic growers in the Himalayas and Hudson Valley, who often practice felt-making. The sheep, yak and alpaca fibre, which is used in the work for colour and texture, roots it in a rhythm of life that is in sync with cyclical seasons. I cook the wool with natural colour from roots, rhizomes and leaves. I activate the work with my body, often wearing it to uncover new meanings, using photography and video.

The works become a site for exchange with expert artisans as collaborators, initiating conversation around the creative process. I share prototypes with workshops over Whatsapp, making decisions quickly, learning by doing, then feeding that learning back into more making.

My material—this way of making, came from Mesopotamia or the ‘fertile crescent’ 15,000 years ago and has spread to different parts of the world. I love that it lives in all these places simultaneously and separately. To me it is evidence that we are all connected. It’s like a fingerprint. Through my work I’m looking for this fingerprint.

© Sagarika Sundaram

Sagarika Sundaram's Portfolio

© Sagarika Sundaram

Artist Biography

Sagarika Sundaram (b. Kolkata, 1986) is a visual artist and sculptor based in New York. She has exhibited work at Frieze New York (2021) with Jhaveri Contemporary (Mumbai), Governors Island (2021), Nature Morte (Delhi, 2021), Mana Contemporary (NJ, 2021, 2020) and Mexico City Art Week (2020).

In 2021 Sundaram won a South Asian Arts Resiliency Fund grant and was a finalist for the UC Berkeley South Asia Art Prize. In 2020 she was awarded a Tishman Award for Excellence in Climate, Environmental Justice & Sustainability and a Michael Kalil Endowment for Smart Design.
Sundaram earned an MFA in Textiles with distinction from Parsons / The New School, NY (2020). She studied visual communication at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad (2008) and MICA, Baltimore (2007).

Sundaram is Visiting Assistant Professor at Pratt Institute. She is deputy editor of Talking Textiles journal published by New York Textile Month.
In Spring 2022 she will show at Frestonian Gallery in London, UK, alongside works by Sonia Delauney.



© Sagarika Sundaram

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