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Suchitra Mattai Biography

Suchitra Mattai is a multi-disciplinary artist who uses a mixed-media approach to explore how memory allows us to unravel and re-imagine historical narratives.

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Suchitra Mattai is a multi-disciplinary artist who uses a mixed-media approach to explore how memory allows us to unravel and re-imagine historical narratives. Her primary pursuit is to give voice to people whose voices were once quieted. Using both her own family’s ocean migrations and research on the period of colonial indentured labour during the 19th Century, Mattai expands our sense of “history.” Re-writing this colonial history contributes to contemporary dialogue by making visible the struggles and perseverance of those who lived it. She often focuses on the experiences of women and employs practices and materials associated with the domestic sphere such as embroidery, weaving and various fibre elements.

Mattai re-imagines vintage and found materials that have a rich past as a way of creating a dialogue with the original makers and the time periods in which they were cherished as well as a means of navigating her own personal narrative. For example, she often uses vintage saris as a way of connecting women of the South Asian diaspora from around the world. Thinking about colonization in Guyana and the rest of the Caribbean is a way of tracing her family’s history in Guyana and India and of fostering discussion around contemporary issues surrounding gender and labor.

Mattai’s process is one of reconciliation. Combining, re-contextualizing, and reconfiguring disparate materials is a way of making sense of the world around her and the multiple cultural spheres that she inhabits as an Indo-Caribbean American. Mattai creates two-dimensional works, installations, and sculptures that allow disparate found objects and hand-made objects to cohabitate, reflecting the multi-dimensionality of culture and community.

Text courtesy UNIT.

Suchitra Mattai
featured artworks

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the weight of silence by Suchitra Mattai contemporary artwork textile
Suchitra Mattai the weight of silence, 2023 Vintage needlepoint, vintage clothing, bindis, embroidery floss, beads and trim
195.58 x 142.24 cm
Roberts Projects Request Price & Availability
a curtsy, a nod, a knowing by Suchitra Mattai contemporary artwork sculpture
Suchitra Mattai a curtsy, a nod, a knowing, 2023 Vintage worn saris, beaded trim and fabric
96 x 72 inches
Anat Ebgi Request Price & Availability
bus stop by Suchitra Mattai contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
Suchitra Mattai bus stop, 2023 Gouache and book pages
30.5 x 30.5 cm
Kavi Gupta Request Price & Availability
kala pani (black water) by Suchitra Mattai contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
Suchitra Mattai kala pani (black water), 2023 Gouache, book pages, faux gems, trim, and vintage needlepoint
30.5 x 30.5 cm
Kavi Gupta Request Price & Availability
In Her Head by Suchitra Mattai contemporary artwork painting, works on paper, sculpture
Suchitra Mattai In Her Head, 2021 19th century colonial print, book page from 'A Grammar of Ornament,' bindis, gouache, and fibre trim on wood
16 x 16 inches
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Hollis Taggart
A mended heart, a lightened soul by Suchitra Mattai contemporary artwork sculpture, textile
Suchitra Mattai A mended heart, a lightened soul, 2021 Vintage saris, fabric, ghungroo bells, and trim
152.4 x 254 x 5.1 cm
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Kavi Gupta
The Murmur of a Prayer by Suchitra Mattai contemporary artwork sculpture, textile
Suchitra Mattai The Murmur of a Prayer, 2021 Vintage saris, saris from the artist's mother, prayer Dupatta from the artist's grandmother, the artist's prayer Dupatta, Ghungroo bells, and feather boa
165.1 x 101.6 cm
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Kavi Gupta
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Suchitra Mattai
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