1.6em
 + On the field of Truth on the battlefield of Life IV Sangeeta Sandrasegar, 2021. pierced and cut paper, hand dyed with Indian Madder. Dimensions Variable.

On the Field of Truth

On The Field Of Truth | Sangeeta Sandrasegar

Over the he last eighteen months I have experienced significant changes in my personal life contiguous to the effects of COVID-19 upon my profession, and it is curious how these considerable changes have threaded together. The major personal shift was becoming engaged, pregnant, and married rather late in life and this period towards post-partum is bookended from the first lockdown to LD06 (lockdown six). My husband Mark Feary is Artistic Director at Gertrude Contemporary, across the last eighteen months of lockdowns I have only been able to attend three exhibition events across their two sites (Gertrude Contemporary and Gertrude Glasshouse), whilst observing the sustained mental and physical agility that the exhibition and studio program has undergone across the continued enforcement and easing of State restrictions. For myself, whilst pregnant, I was physically and mentally weary so I was unsure how I would manage the research and practice methodology that sits behind my art making. I was also between studios... When we went into LD01 I had recently begun my relationship with Niagara Galleries. As the lockdowns continued my first scheduled solo show with Niagara Galleries was postponed.

 + On the field of Truth on the battlefield of Life IV Sangeeta Sandrasegar, 2021. pierced and cut paper, hand dyed in Indian Indigo. 40 x 25cm (each, irregular).
 

Fortuitously at the start of 2020 I was privileged to be invited to teach some classes at Monash University and RMIT. After 20 years of practicing professionally as an artist this was my first opportunity to engage with the tertiary sector as an educator—and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of working with young artists and their burgeoning ideas. Whilst this was entirely new terrain for me, my colleagues and the students were likewise subject to adjustments, as we moved to online education. This was undeniably tough on the students and likewise the supervisors and administrators, but as it was new to me, I could embrace such uncertainty through my pedagogical naiveté. In tangent, whilst I didn’t have the energy to develop my work due to pregnancy malaise and as my professional artistic projects were either cancelled or postponed, I was fortunate to remain engaged with the art sector through the curriculums, lecturers and students I was working with. Likewise, whilst running Zoom class rooms and tutorials carried their particular hazards, it did lend some kind of community amidst the growing social isolation last year engendered. Add to this the opportunity to have a reliable income in uncertain times and to layer the nest egg in advance of having a baby without paid maternity-leave, the brief contract work at the University was helpful.

 

 + On the field of Truth on the battlefield of Life IV Sangeeta Sandrasegar, 2021. pierced and cut paper, hand dyed in Indian Indigo. 40 x 25cm (each, irregular).
 

On Christmas Eve I gave birth to a girl, and the start of this year meant declining contract university work as I began thinking through my practice with baby rearing. The opening up of the state meant I could resume the portion of the latest project that is undertaken in collaboration with master dyer Heather Thomas. This proved another fitting synchronicity between the changes of COVID-19 and being a mother, as it was a gentle way to resume my artmaking with a child—the continued collaborative work provided educational and social invigoration, and the exhibition provided professional aim and focus. As many previous opportunities, such as international travel and residencies have been put on hold, I also spent the early part of this year writing applications for new types of projects and funding. It has been interesting to note how these opportunities and the goals of arts bodies have shifted alongside the impact of COVID-19 and how this then affects our roles and ways of making as artists. Unfortunately, the show with Niagara Galleries was only open to the public for one day, as it was installed after LD05 ended only to be greeted rather quickly with LD06. Whilst I could not share any of the work that comprises some of the great changes of this last 18 months in person, I am grateful that the show was well documented and that hopefully people may have some reserve energy to engage with the work and Niagara Galleries online.

 + On the Field of Truth on the Battlefield of Life Sangeeta Sandrasegar, 2021. pierced and cut paper, hand dyed with Indian Madden.

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