Shreya Mehta & Barkha Patel
Artist Statement & Bio
Humans, at the elemental level, have always been social beings. Meanwhile, we—Shreya Mehta and Barkha Patel—turned inwards, into our own silence, individually deepening our intimacy with ourselves and our art. Eventually, as humans often do, we make sure to find ways to stay connected.
We came together through a short, self-produced, in-person residency in North Salem, New York at Evari Studios in September 2020, in the midst of the pandemic. The time in the space helped us recognize how personal struggles defined the way we approach our respective art forms.
We found ourselves conversing about self-introspection at the tattva or elemental level. Who and what are we at our core, we asked? We eventually recognized and agreed that no matter how different our lives, we are all but the same. However complex, humans are sculptures made from the panch (five) simple tattvas of earth, air, water, fire, and ether.
As Shreya created visuals based on the dancer’s movement, Barkha created dances based on the paintings of the elements. Like an infinity sign, they are in a constant give and take from one another.
Barkha Patel is a kathak dancer, choreographer, educator, and the artistic director of Barkha Dance Company based in New York City. A touring artist, Barkha has performed solo and ensemble works at dance festivals in India and the U.S. She has been recognized with awards such as a choreographic fellowship with NJPAC, a 2020 individual artist grant from MAAF/NJSCA, mentorship from Dance/USA Institute for Leadership, and most recently a consultancy fellowship with Forge NYC. Her recent ensemble work, Mukta, A Woman Liberated, explores a powerful dialogue between a woman and her inner Goddess.
Shreya Mehta is a contemporary fine artist who confronts questions of identity and spirituality in an electric and soulful practice. Her art—compositionally defined by its intricate layers and kaleidoscopic patterns—defies categorization, employing both representation and abstraction to showcase the latent energy that can be found at the intersection of the individual and the universal. Mehta was born in India and raised in Antwerp, Belgium, where she attended the Royal Academy of Art as its first woman of Indian origin. Mehta’s work has a global presence and has been exhibited at galleries and fairs in New York, Dubai, and Mumbai.
"Water Rising, Air Rising, Earth Rising, Fire Rising," 2020. Alcohol ink, charcoal, 24k gold leaf
on cold pressed paper mounted on a wood panel; 24 x 30 inches.
"Residency Video," 2020. Video, 6 minutes.
"Sand Art," 2020. Colored sand on paper encased in a sandbox, 4 x 6 feet.