Wednesday, Jan 19, 2022 | Last Update : 07:22 AM IST

  Life   More Features  16 Oct 2018  Exploring the transitory nature of existence

Exploring the transitory nature of existence

Published : Oct 16, 2018, 12:19 am IST
Updated : Oct 16, 2018, 12:21 am IST

Her current exhibition called the ‘Ma Project’ with Sachiyo Sharma is curated by Dr Gauri Parimoo Krishnan.

Artworks by Sunaina Bhalla from her exhibition titled ‘Ma Project’.
 Artworks by Sunaina Bhalla from her exhibition titled ‘Ma Project’.

While she is an artist who has showcased her works in various galleries across the world, artist Sunaina Bhalla is also actively involved in reviving traditional art of Indian block-printing. Her current exhibition called the ‘Ma Project’ with Sachiyo Sharma is curated by Dr Gauri Parimoo Krishnan. We speak to the artist about her exhibit.

Please tell us something about your Art Exhibition Called Ma Project with Sachiyo Sharma? What is it about and how long did it take you to complete it?


In Japanese, ‘Ma’ is defined as ‘the space in between’. The idea behind this body of work is focusing on the transitory nature of the very existence of life, through sensations such as calmness, pleasure and pain. In chronic life-threatening health conditions such as cancer and diabetes to name a few, patients, as well as caregivers, go through a gamut of emotions and pain, physical as well as emotional. However, there is always a pause in this seemingly endless ‘ritual’. It is this ‘pause’ that is addressed through this body of work. It took me two years to complete this project.

What are the things that inspire you as an artist? How do you try and showcase it in your works by using a different medium?


Currently, I am very interested in traditional healing practices with a focus on Asian cultural practices. I have been researching Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine and I am exploring new herbs and spices in the process of healing. This is the basis of my installation work. I have used block-printing on bandages, cotton ropes and embroidery as symbols of every day in this body of work.

Please tell us something about your background and formal education in art. Apart from artwork, are you also involved in any other social or commercial work?

I trained as a textile designer over 20 years ago and then moved to Tokyo in the 90s where I studied the traditional Japanese art of Nihonga for five years. I moved to Singapore in 2003 and have been there since. I am interested in spreading awareness of the various crafts in India and their traditional and contemporary forms. I am also working with doctors in Singapore to create public artworks that create awareness of healing with natural herbs and spices.


Is there any artist you would love to collaborate with? If yes, please mention who and why?

I would love to collaborate with artists and designers who are working on public art projects revolving around textiles and related crafts.

As an artist do you try to weave in secret messages through minimalist approach and symbolism for the onlookers to interpret?

Yes, my work is very minimalistic and definitely symbolic. There is never a conscious decision to weave messages but I do hope that the concepts that I am highlighting are visible in the effect the artwork has on the viewer.

On till 24 October at the Japan Foundation

Tags: ayurvedic, sunaina bhalla, traditional art of indian