Ceramic artist Aarti Vir celebrates the Earth in her works

The artist’s collection of abstract watercolour paintings and handmade ceramicscommemorate World Earth Day

April 20, 2023 01:12 pm | Updated 05:38 pm IST

Aarti Vir at her studio

Aarti Vir at her studio | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

The colours of the soil come alive in artist Aarti Vir’s installation at Goethe Zentrum in Hyderabad. Twenty two pairs of feet made of coloured clay sit lightly on semicircular mud . Taking inspiration from the world around her, Aarti has curated and created the show, My Heart Dresses in Black and Dances - Mary Oliver, a collection of abstract watercolour paintings and handmade ceramics, to commemorate the World Earth Day on April 22.

Coloured clay installation

Coloured clay installation | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

In February, the ceramic artist was invited by Goethe Zentrum to showcase some of her works to mark Earth Day. “Since I work with clay, it was appropriate but in this short period, I couldn’t work more in ceramics.”

She did, however, manage to put up a few abstract watercolour paintings created during the pandemic along with a couple of her unseen ceramic works . “Earth Day is a celebration of the Earth but in some ways, it is also a mourning for things that we have lost; There are so many species that have gone extinct, so many forests being completely decimated. We are losing things which we may never get back,” says Aarti, adding that the title ‘My Heart Dresses in Black and Dances’ is a line from Mary Oliver’s poetry that suited the show and evoked many emotions. “Mary Oliver addresses a lot of these things in beautiful ways.”

Aarti cites an example of how the pandemic was terrible for many people across continents but a blessing in disguise for some families. “Earlier, my husband used to travel a lot and after many years, due to the pandemic, he was spending so much time at home. It was nice for all of us to spend so much time together as a family. “

Aarti had studied painting but once she began working with ceramics, painting took a backseat. With no access to the studio after she gave up that space in 2019, she rediscovered paints during the pandemic.

The coloured clay ceramic installation, an exploration journey was during a transition. When she had to give up her studio of 20 years in 2019, she sketched her own feet and wondered how the ground would change. “It was also born from an idea of the fact that we are all different but stand on the same Earth. We do share the ground but the inequality is there for everyone to see.”

By Aarti Vir

By Aarti Vir | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

The 22 pairs have been hand built, painted with coloured slips (liquid clay with added colourants) and then fired. The tiles installation has been created from sketches. Standing on the wet clay, the artist made a foot impression. “Whatever you do leaves an impression.”

Aarti enjoys different perspectives to her works. “Each person brings their own perspective and takes away something else. There are times when I might not see something which the viewer sees. It is nice when people’s responses are different from mine.”

Aarti Vir’s show My Heart Dresses in Black and Dances (Mary Oliver) is on at Goethe Zentrum in Banjara Hills till April 22

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