A view of the exhibition at Socrates Sculpture Park. Photo courtesy of Nitin Mukul

This week we welcome multidisciplinary artist Suchitra Mattai, and celebrate her recently opened exhibition, “We are nomads, we are dreamers,” at Queens’ . The exhibition consists of newly commissioned works celebrating the migratory oceanic journeys of past, present, and future diasporic communities. (Epicenter was fortunate to have Mattai as a panelist in our program during Miami Art Week last year.) 

Suchitra Mattai at work in her studio. Photo courtesy of Anna Maria Zunino Noellert/Socrates Sculpture Park

Inspired by the park’s position along the East River, which flows into the Atlantic Ocean, this exhibition features a series of soft sculptures made from vintage saris collected from women of the South Asian diaspora. The exhibition’s title reflects upon transatlantic migration experiences, including Mattai’s ancestors, who traveled from India to British Guiana (now Guyana) as indentured laborers in the early twentieth century, as well as the artist’s own personal migrations.

A view of the exhibition. Photo courtesy of Nitin Mukul

At the center of the Park, six futuristic pods, reminiscent of continental forms, emerge from the landscape, reflecting the dynamic interplay of the shifting sky and ecology. Draped in vibrantly colored saris, meticulously hand-woven together, these monumental forms transcend static existence, subtly evolving and adapting within their waterfront ecosystem. 

Barkha Patel dances among the sculptures during the opening garden party. Photo courtesy of Nitin Mukul

Here, new living beings and elements like sun, rain, and wind interact with the textiles, enriching the pre-existing lives embedded in the saris, which carry the memories of the women who wore them. These artifacts from the “future” serve as an ever-evolving testament to the human experience of migration and adaptation—a monument to the journey of becoming. 

Mattai’s billboard, “A Pocketful of Posies,” at the entrance to the park. Photo courtesy of Scott Lynch

Nearby, a series of seven hanging sculptures adorn the grove of trees, reflecting on notions of femininity and fertility. At the south entrance of the park, the Broadway-style billboard features a thirty-foot collage by Mattai. Organized in collaboration with , dance performances will activate the exhibition on June 12, July 18, and August 25.

“We are nomads, we are dreamers” was curated by , curator and director of exhibitions at Socrates Sculpture Park.

See more of Mattai’s work on her and .

Nitin is a visual designer, gallery artist, and community arts activist. Past desk-oriented posts include: PBS, Digitas, K12, Inc., Fox News, The Wall Street Journal and Sesame Workshop International....

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