Big News!

All My Sorrows Monotype on handkerchief 2019

I have had so much happening that I haven’t done a post in ages but I have big news! The Whitworth have acquired one of my works for their permanent collection. It is currently on show for a year as part of their Exchanges exhibition. Click on Details for further info!

Who knew that when my Mumma gave me dozens of my Dad’s hankies during my MA that I would end up producing a work that is now hanging in one of the galleries that I had wanted to show in? It means particularly much because this work is about my Dad’s experiences at the 1947 Partition of India and the difficulties of settling here only 17 years later. Dad never spoke about what happened to him and his family at Partition and I have only just started to piece together these stories. Making this work made me feel very connected to him. I have thought a lot about how everyday objects, which we don’t find in museums and galleries, carry precious memories for us. Dad was very dapper and always carried a crisp white hankie in the top pocket of his suit.

detail from All My Sorrows, showing barbed wire and starlight

Here are some of the works which led up to All My Sorrows! This series called Absent is about Dad, and how memories have gradually faded as the image fades here with each imprinting. Although there is a sense of sadness here there is also the beauty of remembering him. These prints are made on black Somerset

Absent 1
Absent 2
Absent 3

Absent 4

A-N Bursary

Experimenting with stitch and collage in my studio

Last year, on my birthday, I got the lovely news that A-N Artists had awarded me a bursary for developing my practice. At that moment, I had no idea how fundamentally this grant this was going to change my practice and career. I am beyond grateful for their support.

When the bursary came, I had no idea what was about to hit us. My aim had been to experiment and take my practice to the next level. I had wanted to scope out new galleries to show my work in, make new networks and capture Partition memories. COVID meant that I couldn’t travel because I had to shield because of health issues.

The bursary meant I could afford mentorship. I was lucky enough to have Lewis Biggs- director of Folkestone Triennial agree to be my mentor. At the start, I thought we would mainly be discussing my work and how to experiment and develop so that I felt confident to approach national and even international galleries. But, in the summer of 2020, I became overwhelmed by the Pandemic, lockdown and BLM. Then, I had a horrible event, where someone was abusive to me on Facebook. I was profoundly shocked and upset and found it very hard to motivate myself to work. But Lewis gave me great emotional support and encouraged me back into the studio. We had what I can only describe as a ‘ healing’ conversation – the day after it, I wrote my first poem in 44years and haven’t stopped.

The conversation with Lewis led me to write this poem, on the importance of allyship.

To an ally

How have you been?

you asked, I hesitated,

reluctant to reveal my hurts,

pain old and new reverberating,

every atom remembering

but your eyes encouraged me,

I told you, my voice crying,

I told you I had been injured-

another wound to my gentle soul

I trembled in the silence

of the chance I’d taken,

undefended, curious, hopeful

You have been bullied,

this shouldn’t happen

make a noise,

this is not RIGHT

Easy for you to say

I thought

some of us are WEARY

of this familiar fight

you stepped up though,

not a brace- a shield,

you promised

You don’t have to do anything,

I will do it for you

layers of pain dispersed

by six words, I had not

known the weight of it

until you took my burden

I will do it for you

no hesitation, no further

questions, you opened

your heart to listen

and I began to heal

Poetry has strengthened my work. I have used to record my mother and uncle’s memories of Partition, talk about issues around race and identity, Climate Change and the refugee crisis. Poetry has also helped me to connect to others who have said they have found my words have resonated with them and this has led them to tell me their own stories. visual work has gone went in new directions. I have also started to make expanded drawings and work with stitch, which has opened up new ways of thinking and looking at the world.

In the studio, with two of my expanded drawings- Tumble and Tidal, on 140x100cm Khadi paper

Lastly, I managed to secure a grant from ACE from their DYCP grant. These are hard to get but Lewis wrote me a wonderful reference and also directed me to Sue Jones at Cement Fields who gave me great advice about how to write my application. This money will fund me to further develop my practice. Without A-N I would not have been able to afford the mentoring with Lewis which has fundamentally changed my practice. I will be forever grateful!

Making River, with bookbinding thread and tool, on Khadi paper- about the rivers of blood at Partition
Bookbinding thread on Himalayan paper
Remembering those lost at Partition with knots tied over the Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu words for for relatives


One of the things that has kept me on an even keel during lockdown has been walking and tending my garden. I’ve thought a lot about my dad, who was an interesting character! He grew up on a farm which gave him a life-long obsession with gardening. Dad had to leave his childhood home, like millions of others, at Partition and never went back. He talked about growing up there- sugar-cane, guavas, mangoes, eaten outside alleviating the heat. It sounded idyllic.

He didn’t approve of flowers though and grew enough vegetables and fruit to feed the whole street. He was upset with us because we stopped him from turning the front garden into a large vegetable plot! At the time, I did not appreciate his prowess at all but now, I often think about him when I am in my own garden and wish he could see that he did manage to pass on his love of gardening. An enduring gift.


How I itched to be inside when outside with you! 

you’d wave your trowel, showing me green shoots,

sharing your plans, soft-eyed, remembering

hiding in sugar-cane fields, stealing mangoes,

the trouble that got you juicily outweighed.

I wanted to read, day-dreamed about escaping

suburban battles with weeds and lawns,

unimpressed by my Punjabi farmer- daddy.

Catching you looking critically out of the front window,

clearly feeling the lawn was a wasted opportunity,

I imagined Mr Roberts with his starched roses,

walking past cabbages and cauliflowers-

conventions uprooted, trampled, challenged,

oh! how I wish you’d done it!

You’d gather us around the table, cutting careful slices,

between enthusiastic bites, calling out to Mumma,

as she stirred, and simmered your crops,

Mah-kia, these apples are so crisp and sweet

Kao, betay kao, just like the guavas we used to grow

I’ve had a good crop of beans myself this year,

the pleasure in watching them grow has surprised me,

sometimes, I persuade the girls outside with me,

taking credit for Nature’s work,

finally understanding what you said about seeds

needing strong roots for healthy shoots to grow.

Introducing my poetry

I used to enter poetry competitions when I was very young and I have returned to writing poetry after many years. after many years. The summer was tough for me as for many others. I appreciate my family, lovely home and garden. We have enough to eat and live in a nice city. However, the Pandemic, climate change and the pain of racism reignited by Brexit have sometimes overwhelmed me. I have hope because this new generation of young people are amazing but it has also been painful to think about the racism my family and I, and countless others have endured. I have learned to try and live with gratitude for the good things and be philosophical. My husband says I am relentlessly positive! Although that has been dented, it is still there! I will be sharing poetry about all these things over the next weeks. Love and light to everyone

A Quiet Place Etching with Aquatint


In this time of grief and trouble

when certainty eludes us

I sit alone and wonder

when the future will be bright

I gaze ‘cross the fields and forests

feel the air upon my face

and smell the fragrant harvest

growing at my feet

grand success and filthy lucre are not my inspiration

to be alive and know it

is the purpose of each day

Riding the Wave

I needed to stop thinking about the pandemic and general state of the world. The result is a new set of photopolymer etchings based on trips to the seaside. It has been fun to immerse myself in movement, colour and pattern in a very free and easy way, just floating along, enjoying the mark making. Whilst I was creating the work the process completely engaged me but at the end I realised that in a way this is still about the pandemic- we are all being swept along on a wave that we don’t have control over- literal and metaphorical. So much is happening right now- the pandemic, the climate crisis continues and the BLM movement continues. This is when I feel so glad to be an artist because I can immerse myself in my work and in the process of it, understand how I feel and cope in overwhelming situations. I am so happy with these turbulent, rushing, mountainous images which remind me of the sea and the land. The long view has kept me sane! And so has writing poetry. The poem below is about the long view.

The Long View

when the fire has burned out

I can no longer bear to sit alone

trying to read its risky embers

when peace eludes my desperate seeking

and these four walls become a tunnel

echoing my fears and woes back at me

I walk to the shore, longing for the long view

crunching pebbles, anchoring

myself in the present, gazing

at the infinite sky and sea

the gulls wail their carefree, jarring song

the random chanting of the waves

reminds me that everything changes

although it seems the same

there are no mysteries to solve

here, at the edge of the water

my mind rests, and I hold still

breathing in the beauty of this world

the salty caress of the air against my face

listening to the song of the Earth

learning again, that I am enough

Lockdown Projects

I have been busy during lockdown, making work in response to it. Some days I haven’t felt like doing anything- anxiety about the future has immobilised me! But focusing on small pleasures and making a little work every day has been a wonderful antidote. Having said that. at times it has been hard because I have been examining my feelings through my work.

These works are all made on 140 x 100 Khadi paper. The use of this paper is symbolic because it is made in India where my story as a child of immigrants and refugees starts.

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With the first piece above called ‘Looking Out’, I have been trying to convey my sense of my world shrinking. The white circle on the right is my world, blank because I don’t know what the future holds, because climate change is still happening in the midst of this pandemic and my fear is there will be no world unless we pay attention. Outside the window we see the chaos and vivd beauty of this planet of ours. Life is going on outside my window.

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Tumble 2020

Tumble is the 1st of my ‘Isolation’ triptych. It is about my feeling that we are caught up in a wave which we cannot control. Coronavirus is affecting us all- these boats are all different to reflect the fact that all our experiences are different but the same too as we are all human after all. The boats are part of the same wave yet separated -as we are.

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Tidal 2020 o

When I started working on Tidal, it was about about the situation of the displaced and homeless in this crisis, it now seems to speak for anyone who feels vulnerable because of circumstances they can’t control. I was inspired by seeing a report early in lockdown about overcrowded refugee camps, stretching for miles, another disaster waiting to happen. The idea of people having no agency over their lives disturbs me hugely but is a reality for vast swathes of people and they are hugely vulnerable right now.

What We Don’t Talk About

8yeaWhen I was making Told/Untold and Counted I researched into UNHCR statistics on forcible displacement. They are shocking- there are 70.8 million people worldwide who have been forced to leave their homelands which is 1 every 2 seconds more or less. Looking closely, I realised that 5.6 million of these are Syrians who have fled since the war there began in 2011- that’s a 1/4 of the population approximately. In addition,  6.6 million have been displaced internally. Yet, the destruction of Syria seems to have disappeared from our consciousness -whole cities have been destroyed, there are no green spaces and the infrastructure is gone. But we do not hear about it on the news any longer.

My new exhibition, ‘What We Don’t Talk About’, is my response to what is happening in Syria. I have made a mixed media piece ‘Wave‘ about the journeys of Syrian refugees, and four etchings called ‘8 years‘ where I have described the devastated landscape there. I will be showing these works along with the etching plates for ‘8 Years’ at Uppercase Gallery in the Art and Design building at UH on College Lane from 21st January to 17th February. There will be a PV from 3.30pm on 21/01 which you are warmly invited to attend!


Working on Counted in my studio

Counted is my latest piece of work and is inspired by the current migration crisis. The statistics for the number of people who have died trying to reach sanctuary continues to shock me. Even more shocking is the fact that many are anonymous because they flee secretly – whole shiploads of people sink without acknowledgement. United Against Racism  tries to keep track with The List which records the names of those known to have  perished and in 2018 it comprised of over 34,000 names.

I feel that the numbers are overwhelmingly huge and hard to imagine. I wanted some way of conveying the reality of the ‘statistics’. I spent some time considering how to do this. In the end, I realised that my interest stems partly from my own history as the child of immigrants traumatised by the 1947 Partition of India  which is the largest mass migration in history, where 10-12 million people were forcibly displaced when India was divided so I used Khadi paper to reflect my Indian heritage. As I am telling a story with this piece, I used a book tool to make 36,500 holes in the paper; each hole represents a person who has died trying to reach sanctuary, each gold knot represents 100 and each red knot, 1000. Deep sea fishing weights are attached to represent those who have drowned. There is a gap at the top of the page, with the tool attached, because the story continues. To follow are another two pieces; Cargo about the recent story of the 39 Vietnamese migrants who died in the lorry in Essex and Kismet, about how only Chance dictates how our story goes.

Making this piece has taken many months- partly because the process of making the holes takes a long time but there were also moments when I had to take a break because I felt overwhelmed with sadness. Even so, I feel strongly feel that that artists are in a unique position to question the status quo, raise awareness of issues close to our hearts and thus be agents for change.