For many years we chose to have blank walls in our home keeping away our small but precious collection of art that has been mostly gifted to us by our artist friends; carefully packed away. It is only since the last decade that we have put up the art works that hold special personal significance to us - to live with and interact with, everyday. We do not see them as precious because of their monetary value but love them for what memories they evoke for us, and the relationship that we have with the respective artists that gave them to us. The very first exchanges of art was when we were students and these perhaps are the most memorable of all within the treasured works we have because they were transactions of belief and faith in which the shared journey of discoveries was the anchor of engagement.
As we are not collectors of art our approach to the art what we surround ourselves with in our home is slightly different. We believe that at the end of the day what matters most for is that we must love the work that surrounds us. Our very intimate but precious collection of art has works by Raja Ravi Varma, Jyoti Bhatt, K.G Subramanyan, Nilima Sheikh, Gulammohammed Sheikh, Bhuphen Kakar, Vivan Sunderam, Peter De Francia, Amit Ambalal, Nagji Patel, Karl Antao, K.P Krishnakumaran, Vasundhara Tewari, Trupti Patel, Anita Dube, Jyostna Bhatt, Rajashekharan Nair, Manisha Parekh, Kim Kyoungae, Sachin Karne, Malavika Rajnarayan, Sonatina Mendes and Ankush Safaya to name a few. However not all of these works are on display. For me perhaps my most beloved work is a black and white framed photograph my son Mithun took as part of an exercise during his NID program as a student that I have in my studio proving that not all that is precious comes with a price tag!
But perhaps it is the objects and other items in our home other than the art that has something more particular to say about us and our lives. As an artist my love for objects has seen me collect many things that now, in my personal space of belonging, hold stories about my own life because of what they carry with them as the memories that brought them to belong with me. I also have a love for a particular type of kitsch and for dolls and toys that can appear a rather strange fascination to others. My studio and my bathroom are the two places in our home that reflect a pastiche of many differing things that all hold together within an aesthetics that makes up my special brand of delight in many ways. Right now, perched upon my rain shower is a pink rubber dinosaur that belongs to my grandson Mehran who sits in conversation with a pink plastic monkey, whilst a red African beadwork rooster sits near my bathmat in contemplation of my old worldly tiled floor that evokes memories of my Parsi ancestry. Each day as I encounter these rather idiotic things, I feel a sense of childlike enjoyment from the landscape of memory it opens up for me….and in that I find that stolen moment of happiness.
But most of all it is the sentiment that prevails around me, like a fragrant aroma that holds my senses, which is embodied in all that surrounds me in my home. I can never acquire anything simply for its style alone or because it is the trend of the day. My vision travels in a way that somehow is always connected to my heart! All things I buy in someway offer me narratives that beckon me to bring them into the larger tapestry of my world - creating a living storyboard of new age personal fables that lead my imagination to come alive. A tin with old white buttons bought in an Amsterdam flea market sing me songs through the rattling noise it makes each time I shake it and the zari elephant embroidered by anonymous kutchi women, that is framed in my studio, whispers the conversations I imagine they would have had whilst creating this beautiful piece of magic that now lives with me, whilst a bust of sculptural paper Madonna with the infant Jesus hangs suspended with serenity.
I love my home because it it like the imaginary dolls-house I had constructed in my head as a child. That dolls house was a home that I filled with objects that always spoke to me. It was a place I could find sanctuary within without anyone ever really knowing where I was. Most importantly it was my happy space. So therefore perhaps it is no matter that I am 58 and live in a real home today constructed from brick and concrete, because what fills my home are things that create pure magic for me each day, just like that imaginary dolls house I had all those years ago….quaint but where the truth of my imprint exists.