The practice of the ceramic artist Varuni Kanagasundaram explores the visual expression of the experience of women migrants from the Indian subcontinent. It is the precariousness of their journeys and the ‘moving in-between cultural traditions’ in new lands that is central to the art practice, translating the expression through cultural rituals. Themes of identity, place and merging of cultural practices from the feminine perspective is conveyed through interpretation in clay.
Cultural links to textiles is synonymous with the East. Their vivid colours and distinct patterns are translated into ceramic form. Design on saris, coloured pigments and thread have a visible presence in religious and ceremonial events which are used as symbolic representation of the East whilst decorative elements from textile craft symbolize the West. By introducing elements of fragility, bleeding of the design and gradual abstraction of design the artist conveys the transformation of the traditional culture but to re-emerge in a new form.
Varuni Kanagasundaram completed her Bachelor of Arts Honours degree (1st class) in Ceramics in 2013 and in 2014 was awarded an Australia Council Art Start Grant to develop her ceramic practice that explored Cultural Hybridity. She is currently undertaking her PhD in Art. She has been a recipient of awards in major sculpture/fine art exhibitions, overseas Scholarships, Art Residency at Anderson Ranch Art Centre in Colorado and the American NCECA Multicultural Fellowship. These have allowed her to engage with the broader global arts community to explore her visual narrative.