The team at TARQ is delighted to present Areez Katki's first solo show in India, ‘Bildungsroman (& Other Stories)’. The title borrows an all-encompassing term from German, for a person's spiritual and psychological journey. In the works created from his time in Mumbai in 2018 till 2021, Katki uses embroidery and archival objects sourced from his family home to explore themes of spirituality, migrant identity and sexuality using domestic cloth as its grounding framework.
He interrogates patriarchal hegemonies using a visual language grounded in domesticity, illustrated with techniques and materials that were once relegated to the “feminine domain.” Using handwoven cotton dust cloths, khadi, glass beads, and repurposed textiles, the artist weaves together his multiple identities as a member of the traditional Parsi community—a child of Zoroastrian immigrants—and a queer New Zealander, reclaiming his heritage by reframing it to fit his identity. Katki's embrace of traditional embroidery techniques, taught to him by his mother and grandmother, is a tribute to the most cherished aspects of his childhood.
According to the curator and writer Anna Miles, “Katki’s approach to making work for the exhibition honours his inheritance ofneedlecraft traditions via the female members of his family and his consciousness ofthe political significance of craft practices. He notes the difficulty of recoveringmatrilineal heritage within Zoroastrian tradition; searching out stories of femaledeities and independent Parsi women as well as the presence of textiles. The tale ofa piece of simple cloth that now tells a grand story, captures his imagination. Heeschews the more extravagant frontiers of Parsi textile tradition—bypassingsumptuous brocades, riotously embroidered silk ‘Garas’ and quilted bridal mantles—and selecting to embroider over everyday cloths sourced during his travels …”
The accompanying catalogue includes letters exchanged between Katki and curator Zeenat Nagree over the past 18 months; they examine the more quotidian nature of the works in the show, particularly looking into what constitutes a home during the pandemic.