DUBAI Expressing herself through her art has always been Hatty Pedder’s way.
She replaces words with strokes and sentences with paintings. Her latest collection of art, inspired by her love for the hectic, manic pace of the city of Mumbai, is titled ‘Jhakaas! Mumbai: A Study of Beautiful Chaos’, currently being showcased at The Mojo Gallery in Al Quoz.
“The paints represent my experience and interpretation of Mumbai,” says the British artist. “I found it an incredibly rich and colourful place. It was chaotic and beautiful all at the same time. I expected to be inspired by the glamour and wonderful weddings, and instead became fixated on the traffic and decorated Padmini taxis.”
In order to stay true to the energy of the city, Pedder approached the collection in a reportage manner and went around taking many photographs to work from. “In this particular collection, due to the subject matter, I used more photomontage to create a pop art and surreal feel. The use of neon, mirrored and acrylic sheets also help to capture a certain kitsch appeal. I was inspired by a combination of Mumbai’s traffic, Bollywood, spirituality and chaotic beauty with crows on wires, blessed dogs and goats mingling amongst the crowds.”
A closer look at her collection, however, reveals key pieces surrounded by potential controversy. Take for example the painting of the Flying Jesus, which depicts, as the name suggests, multiple Jesuses flying or floating in the sky. In other paintings, one can see religious trinkets, traditional bindis worn by Hindu women, and even a Swami (spiritual master).
“Mumbai is such a spiritual place, and throughout this collection there are references to the different religions. I have a few pieces which have focused on the religious aspects, for example Mount Mary, Bangara Ghat with a Hindu priest in the foreground and religious scenes depicted on the TV screens, which form a part of my Mumbai Drama series. These pieces should not be regarded as provocative because they aim to reflect the celebration of different religions living side by side in Mumbai. I regard them as a personal documentation of my experience of the beautiful melting pot of the city. The pieces purely celebrate the happy, layered and spiritual environment of the vibrant city and the diversity of its people.”
Pedder’s earlier exhibition last year was Social Seen, a collection of paintings inspired by Dubai. “While Social Seen was inspired by Dubai’s wonderfully ostentatious lifestyle and events, which I interpreted in my reportage style, I decided that I would like to explore taking this concept to other countries to work more internationally. India has always fascinated me, and I have friends in Mumbai, so I jumped at the opportunity to visit the city,” says the artist.
Following a year of travel and painting, the 25 pieces are finally ready and being showcased at the Al Quoz gallery until October 31.
“Dubai boasts such a culturally integrated population, with a large percentage being Indian. Most people here are familiar with India and can appreciate and enjoy the work.”