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Urna Sinha

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your practice?

I grew up in Santinektan, which is where my art education began. II have always been interested in the idea of collecting. Objects, letters, biological remains — which I would revisit again and again. I observe them, learn about their anatomy and further they evolve through an image-making practice. ‘Keeping’ is an instinct for me. I instinctually want to trace and understand time. My practice primarily evokes the gesture of keeping to reflect on the time we are living and breathing in.


What kinds of printmaking are you interested in? Do you see printmaking as a way to gather and collect memories through ‘impressions’?


I see printmaking as a gesture of ‘going back’. Printmaking invokes the idea of image-making through multiplication and erasure, which is almost similar to my ideas around collecting. 

When and how did you first become interested in bookmaking?


Often my process finds shelter in sequential representation. I realized while making works in sequence the importance of the gesture of changing position or eliminating images. I wanted to share a similar experience with the viewers. In a digital era, I want to look at hand movement as a gesture of understanding how we function as a species. I think bookmaking became part of my thinking in the moment I started looking at human hand movements and gestures more closely.


How do you work with ‘collecting’ as a methodology within your practice?

I see collecting as an everyday gesture that I try to invoke through my work. I try to look at collections not as mere sets of objects or words or observations, but through the understanding of time these collections provide. By looking at a collection again and again, and noting its’ changing position, I realise that it is not what I have been collecting, but a residue of time that we are breathing in. 


What is the project that you worked on for the CATALYST art grant?


For the Catalyst Grant, my focus has been on understanding everyday ephemeral gestures. Through bookmaking and drawing, I wanted to create a cartography of an alienated life that we are dealing in: taking notes on simple gestural changes and living patterns.


How has living/working in Goa affected your practice? Are there any specific ways you are hoping to develop your work in the local context?

Living in an interior part of Aldona has enabled a lot of physical experiences that became quite essential for my practice. Daily navigations through hand movements, daily conversations about the domestic rituals are what I see as a learning machine in an AI-generated world.With time I would be enthusiastic to become more engaged with my local community through sharing and understanding the local way of life.  

How does the work on display consider/ create sensorial experiences for the audience?

As the name of the grant,  I see myself as a Catalyst to initiate conversations. As my book evolves, each time a viewer touches or adds their imprints, I see it as an extension of practice, where I learn and unlearn with each viewer. My work requires one to have a certain intimacy with the piece, to understand what is happening on the surface. In a world that is so on screen and physically alienating,  I try to understand what it means to ‘look closely’. 


Who is the audience for your work? 

My works evokes notions of everyday ephemeral experiences. I assume any passenger of a day is my audience. By bringing my observations through book and letter exchanges,  I open space for a every person to become an integral part of my work.


What role do the community and collaborative experience play in your practice?


As I prefer to make collaborative books, I see it as an act of co-making. The medium of bookmaking is itself a collaborative act: Through touching, going backward and forward through the pages. I want to exercise and experience the entire process of understanding the role of hand movements in a future of un-tact society. 

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