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  • Writer's pictureMitch Smith

Uncovered Artists: Priyanshi Jhaveri

Black and white digital image, abstract monsters with chequered pattern
Untitled Artwork 28, 2022, Drawings from Digital Sketchbook, Priyanshi Jhaveri

When Priyanshi Jhaveri is in the room she naturally emits a sense of tranquility and calmness, which is exactly why she made a name for herself in London when she was producing eerie and visceral artworks. Priyanshi produces busy and conversational pieces using multiple avenues of mixed media.

Some of the more poignant pieces resemble childlike aesthetics such as doodles, crafted mechanisms and toys whilst another side is shown through more traditional photography. In a sense, these photographs almost act as an over arching backdrop for the more detailed pieces, providing us with another insight into Jhaveri's overall perspective of the world.

We wanted to find out what the process of moving from London to India meant for her art practice and creative output, especially since shortly after graduating from her MFA at UAL in 2019 - the world was shut down by the pandemic...

Black pen ink sketch of scruffy girl figure
The Adventures of My Stitch 1, 2019, A5, Priyanshi Jhaveri

Hi Priya, thanks for being part of our blog! 🖖 You’ve kept up your practice well since graduating from the MFA in 2019. How was the process of moving back to India and did it have an impact on your creative process at all? 💭 It was indeed a rollercoaster. I was happy to be home and later there was a pandemic. Life as an academic student is different from being an independent artist. One has to consistently make efforts to balance mentally and push oneself to keep going. It did have an impact on my practice concerning materials. I began working with the digital medium where I used captured and collected images to draw, narrate and create images. My practice has been in two parallels of distinct visuals. Eventually, it shifted from the body manifesting or being in any form of violence or trauma to acknowledging the underlying properties of the body like – resistance, healing and resilience.

What is the current direction you are moving toward with your artwork, what themes and ideas are you exploring at the moment? 🎢

Recently I am close to finishing a new project, which is a digital sketchbook. It consists of simple line drawings with/without text - a key to channelling the flow. These drawings are recorded to narrate an array of emotions through a character called "my stitch" (born in London), which sort of has become my alter ego. This project explores drawing as a verb than a noun. Drawing as a tool to record the memory/fabricated memories, perceptions/misperceptions, interpretations/misinterpretations, fantasies and imaginations. It is fresh, honest and raw.

Black and white digital collage made of health care equipment, resembling a figure
Known Unknown, Photo Montages, Digital Drawing, 2021, Priyanshi Jhaveri

It would be great if you could introduce us to Art and Artisans, please tell us a bit about this and what role you play 👩‍💻

As a set of individuals driven towards the cause, we at Art and Artisans, strive for artist representation and the spread of art knowledge. We host online art open calls, talks, webinars and interviews for artists, artisans and art enthusiasts of all ages, races and art practices. We are a platform where one can learn more about the visual arts, different mediums, interdisciplinary art practises and diverse Indian crafts culture. We are proud to recently join hands with Global Challenges Forum (GCF), a Switzerland-based non-profit organization. As for my role in the team, I usually handle the designing part and communication bit with the artisans.

The majority of our audience are based in the West - it would be interesting to hear how the pandemic impacted India, specifically for the art scene. What’s the current situation like? 🇮🇳

India is humongous and diverse. Hence, experiences vary from where one is geographically located. But the pandemic kind of broke that, I think it brought the community closer, the world became limited to a flat screen. It did affect the institutions and galleries therefore they came eventually closer to young and emerging artists. It opened up decent online opportunities and acknowledgement for many, especially for digital media practices. Many young art collectors community has emerged which is cool. It was a phase where a lot of exchange of old/new information and knowledge took place, many good conversations happened and opened up new possibilities simultaneously while embracing the vulnerability. It had its lows but I feel it eventually made us stronger as a community.

Amongst your London peers you made a name for yourself for having a dark humour, how do other audiences react to your works that discuss those themes? Do you need to adjust the tone? ⚰️

A part of my upbringing was to acutely practice non-violence, which has made my eyes extremely sensitive towards mapping the violence everywhere. People relish violence every day - from the plates they eat to the entertainment and information they create and consume. It is fascinating to softly hold the hand of dreams and stab it with the knife of reality. We cannot exist without violence. Isn’t the world's most beautiful and triumphant monuments and cities built on violence? yet we live. That's how humankind has been. Humour emerges from reality. It is a concealed way to narrate it. I feel strongly therefore I draw it out. And ironically I enjoy how often my images are intimidating and uncomfortable. To me, The process of drawing in different forms are ephemeral experiences that happened in reality and over the years I have become more passionate about it. I acknowledge certain adaptations and subtle differences in my image-making process and final outcomes. But it is due to my urge to create a dramatic experience on a tiny little sheet. It is complicated yet simple.

An abstract photo of nature, trees and water reflection
Moment of Violence, 2022, Photosketch, Priyanshi Jhaveri

What's the most recent book you have read and what did you take away from it? 📖

The eyes of the skin by Juhani Pallasma highlights the architecture and the body and senses. It is indeed quite relevant to this time. The simulations and visual digital dumps have cut down our senses, memory, beliefs and the scope of imagination. It just strains us visually. The depth of being lies in the experiences that a body remembers. the being fuses memory and fantasy and we create spaces and institutions of remembrances through it. We project the fragments of self onto the other. It's fascinating indeed. One of the striking lines to me was “The elements of architecture are not visual units or gestalt, they are encounters, confrontations that interact with memory”.

If you could change something about the art world, what would it be? 🌏

Be the change you want to see in others, practice what you preach, charity begins at home and action speaks louder than words. I am not here to change any world I am here on my journey to evolve and become a more conscious living being until I die.

If people were to only know you because of one work, which one would you like it to be and why? 🖼️

It would be Image memory trauma, 2019. The project is extremely close to my heart. The character " my stitch" was born. The doll supported me back then, I overcame creative block through the version of that character and now I have a visual book almost ready with all the drawings which are simple bold, honest and Me. As an artist, I have always been in the visual parallel But I think this work has made me comprehend more myself as a being.

What artists should people be paying attention to, do you have any current favourites? 👀

NS harsha, Chiron Duong, Rithika Merchant, Princess pea, Gurjit Singh , Elodie Alexandre, Heather knight, and Sandro Giordano.

Thanks for catching up, Priya! We look forward to seeing your new work.

📷 Insta: @priyanshi.jhaveri


If you have a creative practice and would like to be interviewed, feel free to reach out:

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