Swaraj has to be experienced by each one for himself’. And a better world cannot be sustained without work on the self. It is Swaraj when we learn to rule ourselvesRevisiting Gandhi: The Art of Shelly Jyoti 2009-18
Lunar swell: Swaraj, sarvodya, swadharma
12 Textile components with Ajrakh printing, dyeing, piecing and needle work, 2018
This “Revisiting Gandhi: the art of shelly jyoti is an exhibition attempts to bring forth Gandhian principles and practices in the light of time-binding, which is the capability to summarize, digest and appropriate the labours and experiences of the past for the benefit of the present and the future generations.
I am inspired by the powerful moon that orbits the earth, changing appearance due to its position in relation to the earth and sun. The moon changes its structure after every 29 days and its cycle of repetition. To me, this crescent moon that has a powerful allure, beauty, legend and myth has a timeless quality. The idea of Swaraj is timeless, whether it was Gandhi’s narration of Hind Swaraj critiquing western modernity, or Tilak’s famous quote’ Swaraj is my birth right’ or Swami Vivekananda referring to Swaraj as internal awakening during Arya Samaj movement in early 20th century. Although without alluding to the specific historicity of events, Swaraj, swadharma, seems eternal and embedded in time.
Revisiting Gandhi: The art of Shelly Jyoti 2009-18
Lunar swell: Civilization and Collective forces
32 Indigo dyed khadi fabric strips, variable sizes
Installed in the shape of a semi-circle, the arrangement of variable sized strips with indigo dyed khadi represents sequential movement and alludes to the nature of time itself. It calls to mind the endless ebb and flow of tides, the continual revolution of undersea and the state of perpetual motion. The gradually folding and merging of hues of blue amalgamate to make one whole where water is the beginning and end of life.Human life originates as a minute seed and expands to full bloom, to ultimately contract to a withered state. Lunar Swell is the sculptural embodiment of these energies that foster life and impose structure on our existence.
This site specific titled ‘Civilization and Collective forces’ is inspired by the idea of collective living of human worth in comparison to modern civilization whose the principal purshrath becomes a search for fulfilment in the present material world which has a larger emphasis on material comforts.
Gandhi wrote,’ Civilization is that mode of conduct which points out to a man the path of duty.’ Performance of duty and observance of morality are convertible terms. To observe morality, is to attain mastery over our mind and passions. So doing so, we know ourselves’. This installation depicts that collectively such aware civilization sees cleaner water.
Bound by Duty: An idea of Swaraj and Collectiveness
Lunar swell: A Dusk moment and terminator
Ajrakh printing and dyeing on khadi
Just like the lunar terminator is the boundary between the illuminated and darkened hemispheres.
Gandhi wrote Hind Swaraj with the backdrop of 20th century events like world war1, the Holocaust, Stalin’s repressive regime, Pol Pot’s genocide, atrocities in the name of religion worldwide, repression of individual freedom in the name of fundamentalism and many more. That was his transient moment of understanding where modern civilization was heading for, and Hind Swaraj was conceived in this background as a critique of European /western modernity.
As a reader, today it’s a dusk moment for us in early 21st century, considering how technology has taken over our lives. It’s is an idea of being self-aware enough to eschew the temptations that modern civilization offers, and consider – how do we measure success, progress and development with material terms?
Just like the lunar terminator is the boundary between the illuminated and darkened hemispheres, this artwork is inspired by the optical illusionary line in the dusk moment asa the transient instant defining the light and dark.
Revisiting Gandhi: The Art of Shelly Jyoti 2009-2018
Residue, Reflections, Reproductions
30 meters handspun handwoven khadi, layered residue with ajrakh printing
As a way of reflecting on, and summing up my work in this exhibition Revisiting Gandhi, I used twenty meters of hanging khadi textiles in a site-specific piece titled Residue, Reflections, Reproductions. In the process of creating the ajrakh scrolls, I place lengths of fabric under each sheet before block printing the material laid out on the studio tables. The marks on the sheets are the outcome of the process of many prior works in progress, residue from the left-over dyes. I hope to convey through this piece that last decade of my life has been a period of intense study on Gandhi as well one of finding my own self, my own dilemmas, introspections, self-transformation and of reading Vedic literature to connect to Gandhi and the endless ocean. I feel through this process I’m coming closer to comprehending and understanding my life and artistic journey.