Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Sheri Lyles Solo in India

The Lotus Eaters
A solo exhibition by MFA student Sheri Lyles
Location: Jawahar Kala Kendra / Jaipur, Rajasthan

January 3-6, 2012 from 11am to 5pm
Opening Reception: January 2nd, 2012

MFA student Sheri Lyles has spent four months in India studying traditional and organic agriculture by spending time on at Navdanya farm and conservation center in Dehradun and by visiting industrial and traditional textiles companies that use cotton as their raw material. Her past career as a cardiovascular technologist fueled her interest in human issues related to health and the environment and continues to feed into her work as an artist. She observes that most people in the US not knowing the origin of their food and clothing, nor hold the knowledge of sewing or cooking from raw materials, results of a ready-made culture, have become a source of lack for social responsibility as well as a huge loss of important skills and cultural traditions. Her time in India will be incorporated into her MFA thesis work , where she is comparing the past and present histories of India and the US with the desire to reconnect us and bring awareness to these types of global social-environmental issues ones that are rapidly becoming global concerns.

In The Lotus Eaters Lyles presents five works incorporating non-traditional materials such as thread, clay, turmeric, puja pigments and henna applied on handmade cotton paper. Her previous painting, done in Hawaii, incorporated fabric, thread, pyrography and watercolor paint applied to cotton paper on a small scale. Her new work done at Studio Sukriti has allowed her to work on a larger scale and with new materials previously unavailable to her. They are essentially inspired by the beautiful textures and colors she has admired so much in Rajasthan. More of her past works incorporated used garments which were set on a 2 dimensional framework. This previous work and her four months of agricultural and textile research in India led to her to create this current body of work in which she is working with refuse fabric scraps and shreds sewn onto a set of 5 oversized lotus flowers that create a colorful and surreal garden setting one can become part of. The title,
The Lotus Eaters, is drawn from a 19th century poem written by Lord Tennyson. It is based on the Odyssey of Homer, 856BC story of a people who lived on a small island. Continuously intoxicated from their incessant consumption of the lotus pods, they became apathetic and careless of the world around them.

For more information visit Sheri Lyles' blog, including coverage of her exhibition in a number of newspapers in India.

Lyles' travel has been funded by a generous grant from the Watamull foundation through the Center for South Asian Studies at the University of Hawai'i and also by an award from the Geraldine Clark Fellowship Fund in Painting.

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