Experiments in glass

Dubai-based artist Anjali Srinivasan, known for her exceptional 3D pieces in glass, is all for popularising recycled glass as a medium for sculptures and installations

Glass is extremely challenging,” says Anjali Srinivasan, the latest recipient of Swarovski’s Designers of the Future Award from the Middle East.

byclist

“It will hurt you unless you are careful; it is like a stubborn horse that refuses to meet your terms. Once you overcome the initial challenges, it is a joy to work with. It is a medium that will teach you patience, making you stronger especially as an artist,” adds Srinivasan, who is carving a name in Dubai’s art circuit for her exquisite work with recycled glass.

Srinivasan, who has been working with molten glass for more than 16 years, is probably one of few artists in the UAE who have mastered the art of glassblowing. Her work – 3D installations and sculptures – are often abstract renditions of her own thoughts, perceptions and views.

Ongoing projects

At present, she is developing a 4x2m glass fabric for Swarovski, using special techniques such as sensor control, remote tracking and responsive environment.

“It is a collective project which I will be doing with other artists selected by Swarovski. The goal is to make the fabric resemble a mesh, which can change its shape. It will also light up when someone touches it,” she says. Srinivasan through her studio, ChoChoMa in Al Quoz, conducts public awareness campaigns, workshops, and many other programmes for art enthusiasts in the emirate.

The latest among these projects includes an association with Dolomia bottles, which conducts workshops for mixologists, teaching them to design their own barware using recycled bottles. The studio is looking to tie-up with Dubai Municipality to recycle glass, while collaborating on various interesting ventures.

“We want people to get excited about glass,” she says, while mentioning she works with six types of glass on different projects. Srinivasan, who has completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Alfred University, New York in advanced glassblowing in 2001 and her post graduate degree with honours from Rhode Island School of Design in 2007, is also happy about the workshops ChoChoMa conducts.

“We bring university professors from other countries to do workshops in UAE. I would also like corporates to invite us for team building events where we can arrange glassblowing sessions on the beach. While doing so we are getting art out of its industrial barriers and offering it to people,” she says excitedly.Discussing her foray into art, she says, “It all started with sketching hills, sunsets and sceneries on notebooks, just like every other artist out there. Then I went on to win painting competitions and realised there’s potential in what I do,” says Srinivasan, who insists she is bad at drawing. “It is when my grandmother asked me to put together a scrapbook for learning geography that I realised my love for collages. Then I slowly started learning colour coordination, theory and colour mixing, and without even realising it, I became an artist.”

Pursuing art

byclist

As an artist, who looks at the world with a curious yet nonchalant eye, Srinivasan was never inspired by 2D artwork, she always visualises her work in 3D. After trying her hands at various mediums such as clay, leather, wood and plastic, while doing her product design degree in New Delhi, Srinivasan started exploring the possibilities of glass. After learning glassblowing the hard way from the karigars (bangle-makers) of Firozabad, where she constantly faced criticisms for being an educated well-bred woman,Srinivasan left for the US to pursue higher studies in glass making.

“I searched for glassblowing classes in India and realised there were none. Then I received a scholarship to attend one of the best programmes for glass art at a great university. In the US, I also got a chance to work with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Later, I worked with visual artist, Ann Hamilton, who also taught me how to manage a studio,” says Srinivasan.

Dubai days

She moved to Dubai in 2014 and founded her studio a year back. “The Dubai government is investing a lot into art and culture. Dubai even holds an alternate art fair called Sikka every year. Despite bringing in many foreign artists to the emirate, the government is also focusing on promoting young emerging artists from the region.

” Anjali Srinivasan was never inspired by 2D artwork, she always visualises her work in 3D “

“The government has also built a design district just to endorse art and artists, which I think is a great move,” says Srinivasan, about the city where she found her calling. To those who want to pursue glass art, Srinivasan says, “Be prepared to work hard and fail a lot. When I pursued art, my parents thought I was going to have an easy life; on the contrary, today they realise that I work harder than most of my friends or family. Also, don’t do art just because it is cool, do it only because you have a passion for it.”

For more details on the workshops at ChoChoMa, visit www.anjalisrinivasan.com, or call 055-5135 1134

LEAVE YOUR COMMENT

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *