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Ekta Aggarwal - Artists - Paul Thiebaud Gallery

Ekta Aggarwal
Everything Moves, 2018
hand cut Khadi scrap fabric sewn on Khadi
24 x 24 inches

Textiles and women have an intricate relationship. Growing up in a middle class family in the 80's in India, I saw my mother, grandmother and aunts spend their free time embroidering, knitting, crocheting, and working with textiles to make clothes, quilts, bedspreads, handkerchiefs, items of household decoration that we used in our daily lives and also gifts that would be given at the birth of a child and as part of dowry at the time of marriage of a female family member. I have absorbed this relationship with textiles and my work is a manifestation of it. 

In 2014, I started a design project where I worked with craftswomen to make earth friendly bags using handmade fabrics in India. As the design project evolved, I became conscious of the amount of scrap fabric that was being generated in my studio. I started collecting all the scrap fabric with the intention of upcycling it into designs for the bags. 

In 2017, while I was studying at California Institute of the Arts, I took the PostColonial Critique class. The readings for this class made me conscious of my postcolonial identity. I became aware of my distance from Indian literature and culture as my entire education had been in schools where the medium of instruction was English. I noticed that I easily moved between two worlds- my hindi speaking Indian family and my english speaking colleagues of the western world. 

This inspired me to shift the materials of my work in order to claim my identity. I replaced canvas with Khadi as the base of my paintings. Gandhi’s call to Indians to boycott all British goods, the Swadeshi movement, was an economic strategy to resist the oppressive and exploitative British rule who were using India as a market. He urged Indians to spin their own cloth in order to make India self-reliant in the manufacture of cloth, an alternative to the imposition of machine-made fabric from the British Mills. 

I make paintings on khadi with scrap fabric that I have collected in my studio over the years. I usually sew and stitch small pieces of scrap fabric in repetitive patterns to make large textile works. I also embroider Khadi to make textile paintings. I am drawn to hand work like stitching and embroidery as it is a signifier for domestic work but at the same time it also provides women with a set of skills that can be used for self empowerment. 

The process of making these textile works is very labor intensive. I employ women from low income neighborhoods near my home in Delhi to assist me in making them in my studio. As these women assist in my studio, stitching and embroidering together means not only employment but also empowerment and financial independence. 

I want to work with women from low income neighborhoods near my home to provide not only employment through my art practice but also a space for affirmation of their skills. As a woman myself, I understand that it is important for women to be financially independent. This financial freedom, from husbands and fathers, guarantees empowerment and participation not only in personal life but also socio-political matters as they begin to see themselves as equals and individuals.

 

EKTA AGGARWAL

EDUCATION

2018
MFA Art, California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA

2013
MA Fine Art, Chelsea College of Arts, University of the Arts London, London

2011
Summer Study Abroad-Contemporary Fine Art Practice, Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, London, England
Summer Program-100 Design Projects, Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, London, England
Art Appreciation, National Museum Institute of History of Art, Conservation and Museology, Delhi, India

1998
BA (Honours) Economics, Hindu College, University of Delhi, Delhi, India

SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2024
Stitches of Care, Emma Gray HQ, Santa Monica, CA 

2022
Time Travel, Emma Gray HQ, Santa Monica, CA 

2020
At Home, Five Car Garage, Santa Monica, CA 

2019
6 PM, Monte Vista Projects, Los Angeles, CA

2018
Slowing Down, Mint Gallery, California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA

2017
Space for Mistakes, L Shape Gallery, California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA

2015
Fragments, Galerie Romain Rolland, Delhi, India

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2024
Contemporary Asian American Abstraction, Paul Thiebaud Gallery, San Francisco, CA

2023
The Feminist Art Program (1970-1975): Cycles of Collectivity, REDCAT, Los Angeles, CA
Open Show, Monte Vista Projects, Los Angeles, CA 

2022
Garden, Ladies' Room, Los Angeles, CA (online)
Flat File 2022, Ortega y Gasset Projects, Brooklyn, NY 

2021
Garden, Ladies' Room, Los Angeles, CA (online)

2020
Translating the patterned light, Maiden LA, Los Angeles, CA (online)

2018
Through-Line: Drawing & Weaving by 19 Artists, Steve Turner Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
Exit 57 B, The Bel Air Restaurant, Los Angeles, CA​
Rattlesnake Bells in the Desert, The Box Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
Unstretched/Unframed, Semperdepot, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Austria

2017
MFA Group Show, California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA
President’s Inaugural Exhibition, California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA
Chiquita Canyon Landfill Found Art Scholarship, California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA

2016
Need a Show for this Title, California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA

2013
Process in Exile, Made in Arts London, London
MA Final Show, Chelsea College of Arts, London
Chelsea Cafe Project, Chelsea Space, Chelsea College of Arts, London
In Two Parts, MA Interim Show, Chelsea College of Arts, London
Chelsea Salon Series, South London Gallery, London

2005
5th Northern Region Art Competition, Camlin Art Foundation, Lalit Kala Akademi, Delhi

2004
Delhi State Art Exhibition, All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society, Delhi

2003
3rd Northern Region Art Competition, Camlin Art Foundation, Lalit Kala Akademi, Delhi 

Ekta Aggarwal Metamorphosis, n.d. hand cut scrap fabric sewn on Khadi 48 x 48 in.

Ekta Aggarwal
Metamorphosis, 2018
hand cut Khadi scrap fabric sewn on Khadi
48 x 48 in.

Inquire
Ekta Aggarwal Close to the Self, 2024 hand cut scrap fabric sewn on Khadi 42 x 42 in.

Ekta Aggarwal
Close to the Self, 2024
hand cut Khadi scrap fabric sewn on Khadi
42 x 42 in.

SOLD

Ekta Aggarwal, Everything Moves, 2018. hand cut scrap fabric sewn on Khadi ​​​​​​​24 x 24 in.

Ekta Aggarwal
Everything Moves, 2018
hand cut Khadi scrap fabric sewn on Khadi
24 x 24 in.

Inquire
Ekta Aggarwal Metamorphosis, n.d. hand cut scrap fabric sewn on Khadi 48 x 48 in.

Ekta Aggarwal
Metamorphosis, 2018
hand cut Khadi scrap fabric sewn on Khadi
48 x 48 in.

Ekta Aggarwal Close to the Self, 2024 hand cut scrap fabric sewn on Khadi 42 x 42 in.

Ekta Aggarwal
Close to the Self, 2024
hand cut Khadi scrap fabric sewn on Khadi
42 x 42 in.

SOLD

Ekta Aggarwal, Everything Moves, 2018. hand cut scrap fabric sewn on Khadi ​​​​​​​24 x 24 in.

Ekta Aggarwal
Everything Moves, 2018
hand cut Khadi scrap fabric sewn on Khadi
24 x 24 in.