Shampa Shah

Artist Statement

My practice in Ceramics is essentially located in the dialogue between the Traditional and the Modern. Am at home in the tension provided by the simplicity and rigor of the potter’s wheel or a pinched form, and the complex sculptural forms that sometimes call for mixing media such as metal, wood, etc.

My over two decades of work as Curator, at the Ceramic department of the Anthropological Museum IGRMS at Bhopal has helped expand my practice as an artist. Intense and long collaboration with cross-disciplinary artists and crafts-persons continues to define my own trajectories and concerns as contemporary practitioner. It has also often been the force behind the larger body of my work. Given a keen interest and background in Forest Ecology, the beginnings of my sculptural work were routed through the universe of plant/ animal life-forms, at the same time in dialogue with the traditional votive forms from the tribal universe. Thence I have continued to work along related lines, experimenting variously with form, media and different techniques of clay and firing.

My works are often centered around certain key ideas such as the duality of gravity and grace, the concept of eternity and a transient moment in time. Presently my works deal with the experience of oneness of things. Undefined forms that reference human beings, animals, plants, a bowl, a pitcher and mountains – all come together. These living and non-living mutating forms are in a continuous flux, magically metamorphosing into one another. It is a vision of the Earth as a sacred space where everything is connected.

-- Shampa Shah

Bio

Shampa Shah’s practice in art is essentially located in the dialogue between the Traditional and the Modern that overlap with her writing and curating. Having trained under renowned contemporary ceramist P R Daroz, she further augmented her practice in close and sustained collaboration with traditional clay artists. She has been working as an independent artist in ceramics for three decades. She has exhibited widely across forums in India and abroad; has collections with Art institutions in India, South Korea, China, Singapore, Egypt, Japan et al.

Established and headed the Ceramic Section at Indira Gandhi National Museum of Man (IGRMS) Bhopal for over two decades, where she curated key exhibitions around diverse clay and other craft themes and traditions, including the permanent open air exhibition ‘Mythological Trail’. Worked as consultant Curator and Folklorist of the Madhya Pradesh Tribal Museum, Bhopal.

Five time recipient of All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society (AIFACS) Award. Received the Junior National Fellowship of Ministry of Human Resource and of Roopankar Bharat Bhavan, Bhopal. She has published widely on Contemporary Art & Storytelling traditions of India including ‘Tribal Crafts of M.P.’ from Mapin.

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