Digging through the pile of off cuts in her studio, Saraswati brings together elements that call out, each with a personal story. The tractor here forms the crux, a poignant reminder of childhood, collected on journeys to entrance a son who’s outgrown such childish toys. It speaks of a private moment, enshrined forever, protected like a pod does its seeds, from external elements. It’s also very apt for the kind of year 2020 has been, each of us bound within our walls, protected and yet isolated in limbo.
Seeds of Life, 2020.
Untitled 2, 2020.
In response to the prompt shadow box, Saraswati drew on her seaside scavenges to centre the work around the discovery of the skeletal remains of a pufferfish. Her use of a uniform white spray on the found objects, reveals its inherent texture and form, creating a visual symphony. Her preference of natural forms appears here in extra bits lying around her studio: a sea urchin incense holder or sea serpent cup handles.
On The Wheels, 2020.
Rooting around her overflowing potters studio, Saraswati re-purposes rejected pieces like this fun take on a gravy bowl to hold seaside treasures. Playing off the brief for an exhibition based on table manners, she plays with the form of a container, misshapen, humourous and able to roll away at will.
Saraswati’s work is inspired by her location, the adjacent sea and tranquility that pervades Auroville. Putting aside her past life as a journalist in Russia, she has found her calling in ceramics in the midst of the creative community that calls Puducherry home. In choosing to embrace the hand-thrown or moulded clay body, she avoids what she calls the “wheel trap”. By showing the joints and the impressions of the maker, she is showcasing the human hand behind each creation, celebrating each unique form in all its imperfections. Developed through introspection and a keen spiritual practice, her works speak of migration and longing. Saraswati’s strong sense of community comes from being part of a large creative settlement that encourages her to connect basic human concerns to a higher power, moulding works that celebrate the human experience rather than regurgitate its worst bits.