Dawn Patel ArtThe Dawn Patel Art Gallery features some examples of my paintings, prints and mixed media work.
A lifetime of art making has taught me a language that is very particular and personal, as much as it is far-reaching. At the age of 52, I have intentionally spent most of my adult life uninfluenced by the art and academic world – a decision I made after graduating with an MFA in 1996. I realized at that time it was not my world, and my desire to be recognized would only tempt me to be untrue to my own artistic vision and voice. Having pursued my own course of artistic survival for twenty years I am emerging from this underground passage with a vast amount of understanding, both of art and of myself. I have found it to be my means of communication with my ancestors. Ancestors – a word that has powerful and very different connotations depending on the reader. For me it is a word signifying the energy, knowledge and wisdom that we carry within through the ages, on the cellular and genetic level as much as in our subconscious and conscious thoughts.
At this stage of development in my life as an artist, I re-enter the world with my own voice, born and educated in the world, but nurtured and developed in (relative) seclusion. This makes me neither an ousider nor an insider as an artist, a paradox I have lived with my entire life as a mixed race first generation immigrant. This paradox, being of the world yet not in it, and visa versa, is a driving force in my art. The sensation of being an outsider looking in and simultaneously an insider looking out, has forced me to create a safe place of my own, within the layers of my paintings and cloth. I deal with the passages through time and space that question the very nature of reality, as well as memory and history. In my art making I communicate with my ancestors and the unseen world, as they guide my hands to create images, patterns, and layers that unfold as they illustrate, the messages they have been longing to communicate. The messages are often answers to personal questions regarding my own life events, as well as wider questions of culture and belonging, finally reaching as far as the big questions on the nature of time and purpose of life itself.
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