With our exhibition Continental Shift: Contemporary Art and South Asia in full swing, we asked a number of our feature artists to give us some insight into what inspires them to create, as well as their thoughts on their work in the exhibition. Kicking off our series is Shivanjani Lal, the artist behind the extraordinary work Kala Pani 2017 which is currently on display in the Bunjil Place Gallery.
Were you a creative child? I used writing as a creative outlet as child, but wouldn't have said I was a kid who drew or painted. For me access to artistic expression probably came when my Aunt and Uncle gave me their Pentax camera and I started taking photographs.
What drives you to create art? I make work for the women in my family and my community and the work I make speaks to where does healing begin, in our bodies, or in our landscapes? Or do we need to create temporary third spaces for them? My work is about asking questions and allowing audiences to maybe feel a response.
How do you feel about your work being presented in this exhibition? I feel really proud to be showing with peers and artists I've admired for some time. I feel quite emerging as an artist and this opportunity to share my work with other South Asian artists feels like a wonderful stepping stone towards growing as an artist.
What are your thoughts on Bunjil Place Gallery? I love it! It's such a wonderful space and the team have been really responsive in allowing me to envision a new version of Kala Pani. As an artist who engages with community practice, I am really grateful that community will access the work and it will be activated through community days and dance.
Shivanjani Lal, Kala Pani 2017 (detail), installation view, Continental Shift: Contemporary Art and South Asia, Bunjil Place Gallery, 2019, image © the artist. Photography: Christian Capurro