Last year, Delhi-born, Sydney-based artist Kirtika Kain sold all of her 14 works at the National Art School Postgraduate Exhibition. This included her majestic, tar-tinged Pitch, a sizeable work that caught the eye of eminent Sydney gallerist Roslyn Oxley. Kain makes her commercial exhibition debut at Oxley’s prestigious Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery in Sydney this week in collaboration with the Art Incubator program – a spectacular accolade for any young talent.
Through her practice, Kain interlaces fine materials like gold, vermillion, Japanese rice paper and beeswax, with tar, shellac, scorched linoleum, and other raw and industrial items. These collide into alchemic vistas that foreground her dualistic experience as an Australian-based minority tied to subaltern legacies – a female born into the Untouchables, India’s lowest caste – who is pursuing an art career in one of the world’s most expensive cities.
“Corpus materialised over consecutive residences in the ancient and modern cities of Delhi and Rome; capitals of power, empire and resistance, at once foreign and familiar,” says the artist. “Amongst the grit and grandeur, I have found my tools: brooms, religious twine, pigments, gold and silver. Amongst all that is said I find a voice that has never been heard.”
Watch curator and NAS creative producer Sebastian Goldspink in conversation with the artist below.