Artist Takeover: Jagjit Kaur
7 August 2020
Jagjit is a Leicester-based artist who graduated in BA Fine Art at De Montfort University 2019. Her works use paint, photography & collage.
Drawing on traditional Indian portraiture, Jagjit's work combines elements of vibrant western culture which are juxtaposed against the serenity & nobility of her Sikh background.
Jagjit is fascinated by the dreamlike, spacial quality & vivid colours that western artists such as Cy Twombly & Henri Matisse have in common with Indian painting. Jagjit aspires to capture this atmospheric visual harmony within her work.
All facets of her identity surface within her work be it religion, gender or culture.
Haze is a digital collage made using found images. The collages I make have a focus on visual aesthetics and composition. I find it therapeutic to find images that fit and work together. Pairing and piecing different images together is something I can remember always doing.
After graduating from University where I was lucky enough to have a large studio to make huge oil paintings, I had to adapt to a smaller space at home. I have found that collages were a way to stay creative without having a large space.
From a young age I earned the name 'rubbish collector' from my mum because I'd collect all sorts of random stuff and keep it. Beads that had fallen off ladies' Indian suits at the gurdwara, sweet wrappers, envelopes that had the blue markings on the inside. I'd glue them together and all sorts. In GCSE textiles I was called a magpie.
This collage I think shows why those names where given. The pink background is a receipt from a rug doctor found very randomly. The shiny deflated thing was a helium balloon that had been pegged into the washing line, in fear that it would fly away. I found it while scrolling through photos on my phone.
The central photograph was found while looking at old photo albums it shows me and my brother when we were younger. The photograph is out of focus, like the memory, kind of when you wake up from a dream and you don't really remember it.
The collage shows a family picture with the painting of Hercules fighting the Nemean lion by Peter Paul Rubens, snippets of the lion and Hercules showing the struggle of their battle going on behind the trees. The use of symbolism and religious iconography is something I always find fascinating in my paintings and collages. Normally I incorporate something linking to those themes and adding in objects that I link to specific meanings.
The playfulness of the balloon merges the background and foreground. It takes away from the seriousness that the painting of Hercules adds balancing the atmosphere.
Koh-i-Noor Punjab De is a series of six A5 oil paintings on cotton tag paper.
The paintings are inspired by photographs I had taken on a trip to the Punjab at the beginning of 2020. The paintings show different Sikh men in Punjab. This set of paintings really focus towards colour and creating an atmosphere. The paintings show the men working to make Gurh (jaggery), during prayer and at religious Sikh celebrations. The paintings show inspirations from both the East and the West, looking into how painting in India changed during Colonial India.
The paintings are named after the Koh-I-Noor diamond (Koh-i-noor meaning "Mountain of light ) most famously worn by Maharajah Ranjit Singh the king popularly known as Sher-e-Punjab or "Lion of Punjab", was the leader of the Sikh Empire, which ruled the northwest Indian subcontinent in the early half of the 19th century. The diamond now sits in the British Crown Jewels. It's history as rich as the people who have worn it. The jewel for me and its history is something I grew up learning and reminds me of Punjab.