Creative Spotlight | Gauri Torgalkar

Published on 18 December 2023


Gauri-Torgalkar-1.png Tell us a bit about who you are and what kind of creative work you make.
I am a visual artist of Indian origin on the land of the Wallumettagal people (Ryde). My work re-imagines the Australian landscape as altered through the lens of personal memory and inspired by narratives including Indian textiles, folklore & miniature painting. Through my work I hope to bring my Indian aesthetic into the conversation around contemporary art in Australia, contributing towards its diverse and complex cultural narratives.

Gauri-Torgalkar-2.png How does your personal history, culture or experience inform your creative work?
As an artist who has relocated several times (India, USA & Australia), my practice explores the intrinsic need of immigrants to make cultural associations in new communities. I see my practice as a part of a larger transcultural narrative. Colour is ingrained in every aspect of Indian life. And in many indigenous cultures, ornamentation and decoration of physical space is a part of everyday life. I am fascinated by older systems of colour, pattern and ornamentation and their overlap between cultures, giving us a language that can be simultaneously local and universal.  

Gauri-Torgalkar-3.png Whereabouts do you look for creative ideas? Who or what inspires you?
Although traditional Indian aesthetic guides my art, the subject is essentially Australian. I am fascinated by the Australian landscape, and it will forever be a treasure trove of ideas for me. I recently visited Uluru, the heartland of Australia, and was speechless at the power and impact of that landscape on me. I can’t wait to show my work inspired by that landscape.

Gauri-Torgalkar-4.png Are there any special processes, techniques or tools you use to make your creative work?
I use raw linen surfaces as my surface as it reminds of me Indian handlooms. Most of my artworks involved a long process of building up thin layers in acrylic alternating between horizontal strokes and vertical strokes. I typically use transparent colours so the new layers can interact with the layers below to build up depth in colour. There is a lot of scraping, brushing, and removing paint as well. Sometimes I also incorporate South Asian motifs and gold foil as a homage to the fabric details I have grown up seeing.

Gauri-Torgalkar-5.png What is a creative project that you’ve worked on that you’re really proud of? Why?
A few weeks ago, I exhibited at The Other Art Fair in Sydney, which is a sort of rite of passage for emerging & unrepresented artists. Getting a mini-solo exhibition together in less than four months (with a part-time job & a full-time family) has been nothing short of a miracle for me. It was the most exhilarating and physically exhausting thing I have done in a long time and I guess I realized how far I can push myself creatively and physically.

What has been the highlight of your creative career so far?
One of my career highlights has been my project in collaboration with Cumberland Council ‘Diwali Bloom’, which won the Create NSW Small Projects Grant in 2021. We created a community rangoli event as a part of the exhibition which was attended by South Asian residents living in the Cumberland area.

Where can we find out more about your work and get in touch?


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