Suchitra Mattai

Demerrara Dreams
, gouache and Mattai’s mother’s sari on printed fabric, 66″ x 52″, 2019

(Photo by Wes Magyar)

, mixed media on fabric, 48″ x 37″, 2019 (Photo by Wes Magyar)

My Life is Not My Own
, mixed media on fabric, 48″ x 76″, 2019 (Photo by Wes Magyar)

Triumph in an age of sadness
, 19th C print, gouache, acrylic, Hindu comic, thread, 12″ x 9″, 2019

(Photo by Wes Magyar)

Wedded Bliss
, embroidery floss, acrylic, oil, and gouache on patterned fabric, 32″ x 48″, 2019

(Photo by Wes Magyar)

Back story of Invisible powers
, mixed-media collage, 19″ x 22″, 2019

(Photo by Wes Magyar)

Calypso Queen
(Caribbean Queen), mixed media, 64″ x 76″, 2020 (Photo by Jordan Spencer)

, acrylic on printed fabric, 40″ x 48″, 2019 (Photo y Wes Magyar)

Artist Statement

I am interested in giving voice to people whose voices historically were quieted. Using both my own family’s ocean migrations and research on 19th Century colonial indentured labor, I seek to expand our sense of “history.”

Rewriting this colonial history contributes to contemporary dialogue by making visible the struggles and perseverance of those who lived it. I often focus on women and employ practices and materials, such as embroidery and weaving, associated with the domestic sphere. I re-imagine vintage and found materials that have a rich history as a way to create dialogue with the original makers and the time periods during which they were cherished.

My work weaves materials from my own Indo-Caribbean family with objects from other parts of the world and other time periods, and probes questions of displacement and migration arising from European colonization. Focusing on this period is a means of tracing my family’s history in Guyana and India and of fostering discussion about contemporary issues of labor and gender.

About the Artist

Suchitra Mattai was born in Guyana, South America, and has lived in Canada, the United States, and India. She received a master of fine arts in painting and drawing and a master of arts in South Asian art from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

Suchitra Mattai has exhibited her work in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; New York, New York; Washington, D.C.; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Denver, Colorado; and Austin, Texas, as well as in London, England, and Wales. Her art also has appeared in a variety of publications.

Among Suchitra Mattai’s recent projects are commissions for “Sharjah Biennial 14” and the Museum of Contemporary Art  in Denver; a large-scale installation for Denver Art Museum’s “Biennial of the Americas”; and solo exhibitions at Taylor Art Collection in Denver, the Center for Visual Arts, Metropolitan State University of Denver, K Contemporary Art in Denver, and GrayDuck Gallery in Austin.

In spring 2020, Suchitra Mattai is showing a large-scale installation in “State of the Art 2020” at Crystal Bridges Museum, Bentonville, Arkansas; participating with Adrienne Elise Tarver  in the two-person exhibition “History Reclaimed,” at Hollis Taggart Contemporary, New York City; and exhibiting solo at K Contemporary Art, Denver.

Suchitra Mattai lives and works in Denver.

Suchitra Mattai Website

Suchitra Mattai on Instagram

Hollis Taggart Contemporary

K Contemporary Art


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