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Adding feathery touch to art

Sarika Bajaj used threads, jute and feathers in her sculpture that was showcased at the APRE Art House’s booth at the recently-concluded India Art Fair (IAF).

Sarika Bajaj’s fascination towards feathers led her to collect feathers from the streets and feeding places. Along the way, she developed an interest to use them in creating artworks. At the recently concluded IAF, the Mumbai-based artist used discarded feathers, jute and threads in a sculpture that was attached to a ceiling.

The black, white and red coloured artwork is her take on the bizarre climate changes and the transformations that the earth is experiencing. Titled ‘In between’, the sculpture defines the relationship that humans have with birds since ancient times.

The sculpture is inspired from mythology, history and the symbolic relevance of different materials. It carries thousands of feathers and over 100 fabric pieces.

“Since we are talking about transformation, I feel that through my artwork, I have transformed the discarded feathers and gave them a new life,” she says.

She also shares that the artwork is her take on climate change and loss of habitat.

“This work is based on the environment. I have tried to create a hybrid kind of a sculptural form hanging in between. ‘In between’ is symbolic as it means from one space to another. Birds are also symbolic to this term. They mean intermediaries. Some cultures believe that birds are symbols of transcendent,” she adds.

As a process, Sarika collected the discarded feathers from different places. She then dried and froze them. She later sewed them with jute pieces, which were store bought.

When asked why she chose jute over other materials, she clarifies, “I feel jute is easily accessible and I could buy it easily. I like working with other textiles as well due to their tactility. Feeling a material allows me to develop it in a better way.”

As an artist, Sarika has always combined contrasting materials together. “I like to see how different materials come together as it becomes a different language altogether,” she shares.

This is not the first time that she has worked with threads and feathers. When asked why she has fondness towards feathers and threads, she specified that it is their relevance in ceremonies that makes these materials an ideal choice.

“Feathers have their own mythology and so do threads. Feathers, in general, highlight freedom and fertility but every feather has a different meaning. In this artwork, I have used a lot of crow feathers. The reason being that crows are considered to be sacred. Similarly, threads are used for ceremonial purposes that is why they have been chosen,” she says.

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