Rewati Shahani was born and brought up in Mumbai before moving to London to study Fine Art at Central Saint Martins. She has lived in the capital ever since. Much of her early work focusses on the shared histories of her current and former home cities – as seen in her large-scale ink on kora cotton maps of the two metropolises.
In 2018 Rewati returned to Mumbai for a solo show, Tides, a furthering of her study of geography and place. Tides featured a series of distinct geometric forms, each broken and recast to represent the flow of people – drawn to new lands like ocean tides swelled by the moon – that in spite of artificial borders shape where, and how, we live.
For 2019, Rewati has turned her attention to film, albeit with her characteristic and innovative approach to traditional materials.
By painting directly onto 4 x 6” negatives, Shahani continues to encourage the tryst between water and air, seen so arrestingly in Tides, this time coaxing the ink into portraits and shapes, drying it under controlled conditions before printing.
The result is a beguiling mixture of contrast and form, with cracked paint creating the illusion of texture where there is none, massed, half-millimetre splinters taking on new life in each print.
The inversion born out of the photographic process is also harboured to dramatic effect, as white faces are turned black, black faces white, as if lit by the moon.
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