Hitesh Natalwala Biography

Born in Nairobi of Indian extraction, having lived in Britain and studied at London’s St Martins School of Art before moving to Australia, Hitesh Natalwala is almost bound to draw on this rich, shifting cultural background to create works both universal and personal.

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The beautifully crafted precision of his palimpsest works carry with them a layered softness and compelling intimacy. Composed in part of letters, pages from magazines, and of paper dots hand painted with gouche, Natalwala utilises stylised representations of plant and human forms and abstract shapes to convey life experiences. The regular patterning and uniformity of these works alongside the soft-tones he employs lend the work an atmosphere of calm. Speaking about his work, Natalwala suggests that the patterning enables him to order his world and echoes the repetitive nature of life while his use of colour stems from balancing his Indian culture with a Eurocentric Art School education.

As Haema Sivanesan noted, “Thus drawing on a personal present, Natalwala undertakes an exploration of what it is to live in the post-colonial diaspora. His carefully constructed collages describe a process of tracing and re-constellating the contours of a transient, transnational life, contending with the idea of decolonised cultures as being re-formed through a dynamic social process, set in motion through the phenomena of displacement or diaspora. His collages tackle issues concerning the experience of cultural loss, disorientation and the search for community, but propose a realigned notion of cultural communities as being formed globally through a dynamic and expansive social process.”

Hitesh Natalwala has exhibited throughout Australia as well as internationally, including exhibitions at Chatterjee & Lal, Mumbai and Gallery Reis, Singapore. And his work is held in various private collections in Australia, Great Britain, Hong Kong, India and Singapore.

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