Artist Statement


My work has always been about my identity as a woman and how being a Hindu along with the ideas of being an Indian have fed the construction of the image of the self I hold. These factors are also tied to my inner emotions which influence my artistic practice.

I am interested in looking at how the internal and external worlds affect the construction of each other, and it is these constant struggles of identities that form a major reflection in my projects. I started to explore the theme of personal identity during my time in the UK. The lack of daily adornments, called “Shringaar” used by Indian women led me to the realization of the important roles these daily objects of adornments play in Indian women’s life. Hence, the use of Henna, Glass Bangles, and old Saris in my work is extensive and these objects act as a medium through which I express myself.

My work revolves around the ways of communication and is also about languages that we use which are an important part of one’s identity. Being born in a half Sikh and half Hindu family, and in North-West India, and brought up as quadrilingual using Hindi, English, Punjabi and Urdu on a daily basis out of which only I know how to read and write in Urdu. Anything written in a language that one cannot understand is a secret.

Numerous events in my childhood made me feel that it is not safe for me to voice my feelings and opinions, which ultimately resulted in me becoming an artist because this is the only way, I feel, that I can put the complete truth out there but in a way that it is still hidden.

The process of my work is very meditative and automatic. I do not force to direct the work in any predefined directions, instead, I let the process of work itself lead the way. The initial ideas, thoughts, and emotions tend to be very different from the beginning of the work until its completion. My work is an honest reflection of me and my aim as an artist is to connect to the audience at a more emotional and personal level. I let myself indulge in the past, present, and future together when I am working, and I want my audience to feel the same pull in different directions in the same moment.

-Somya Dhiman