I have received junior fellowship in the field of visual art (year 2000-02) for my project titled 'Indian Canvas'. During this project I pursued Indian traditional quilt making, typically called 'Godhadi' in Maharashtra, giving it a try to convert into contemporary vision. Canvas, oil and acrylic colours are used by majority of the artist I wanted to bring in a new medium in the modern practices by introducing fabric assemblage.

With the help of financial assistance for two years from the 'Ministry of Culture' 'Indian Canvas' happened to be a very successful project. As a result in the end of the tenure of these two years I also received a prestigious 'National Award'. For the work titled, 'Flow of Death' (after Godhra).

I have continued working in the same medium till the date. I tried to stretch me and the capacity of my medium through working in huge sizes 33 ft X 13 ft and 20 ft X 20 ft using some modern tools and techniques such as laser cutting technology.

A dialogue with a young artist

Questions & Answers

Lucy: Do you have any inspiration for the work you produce, and if so what is it? What gave you the idea to create such interesting work?

Vaishali: Dear Lucy,

I think these two questions fall in same category, so while answering I prefer to address both.

I started doing collages in fabric. Those appeared similar to paper collage. I thought I am yet not exploring the quality of fabric.
Talking about inspiration: I have always admired watching quilts around my neighbourhood, which are put on wall, or any where outside the house where it will easily dry. So while wandering on streets you can easily get a glimpse of these. The quilts I am talking about are utility one. It has a long tradition, woman usually do these at home, sitting together in the afternoons, when all household work is done. Raw material they use is old used cloths, like saree blouse shirt etc. then they create it by stitching with hands, with a running stitch.

This is the background I am just telling you to make you aware what I am exactly talking about.

These quilts are used as bedding to prevent cold. So naturally it is made with few layers of fabric. When these are washed, woman usually beat them on stones in order to clean! This process creates interesting patterns. I have always admired those abstract patterns, exposing under layer of fabric, like a peeling off a paint layer and exposing an under coat! This process capture the time gone by, like you find on a bark of tree, a new skin is seen beneath the old. Everything in nature is perishable and looks interesting in every stage of its life and death.

So regaining from fabric collage, all these source of inspiration helped me to take my work one step further! Of course all this process took quiet a long time. Everything was not always clear slowly it revealed, and the process is still going on. I always thought I don't want to paint foreground and background as two things kept on each other. Foreground should appear as if it is a part of background and emerging out of it as one.

Lucy: Do you prefer a certain colour pallet when you are working?

Vaishali: Talking about colour pallet, I have always admired the colours coming from nature. But when we talk about colour pallet it dose not stop only to a colour, its texture, and the sense it gives is also important. But it is not only limited to nature I find all other things inspiring too, Tree trunks, dry leaves, fresh leaves, sand, different colours of clay, rocks, melting chocolate, This is never ending!

Lucy: What is the concept behind your work?

Vaishali: We can never catch a passing time; we always find it in traces behind! I have always wondered who I am and what I am doing here on the planet called earth? I find myself witnessing all change happening around me including my own body. All materialistic things do change as time passes by. I think this is the biggest phenomena happening all around us all the time. But it is so gradual and so subtle that we don't call it phenomena!

I am trying to bring it in my work. I am trying to share this senses to the viewer!