‘Amalgamation’ gallery mixes cultures

Randi Dofat

Kritika Shetty, senior ceramics and sculpture major, recently showcased her work in an exhibition called “The Amalgamation”, Friday, April 20, in The Art Building.

The concept of the show was to mix cultures, specifically with Indian culture. She did this by focusing on different elements such as education and marriage.

“This piece, being the marriage one, is like a combination of different cultures,” said Shetty. “The wedding gown being the American culture, the henna being from the Indian culture and the jewelry coming from the Indian culture too because those are two very key elements from, Indian marriages. I tried to combine that. Along with another piece where we did a performance piece, which the result of that is hanging up on the wall. They kind of go hand-in-hand with each other.”

The performance piece is a delicate gold dress with round weights shaped as jewelry attached to it. The jewelry represents the cultural weight that comes with marriage.

The weight comes from age-old traditions that have translated into newer generations. However, they have not done well.

In the performance piece, Shetty was wearing the gold dress. The gold represented the gold jewelry that comes from the Indian tradition. Her friends, representing society, hung the jewelry-shaped weights on the dress until Shetty could no longer take the pressure.

Shetty’s initial inspiration for her work began in 2016, when she attended a ceramic conference and witnessed work by Brendan Lee, a ceramic artist who also incorporates culture into his work.

“That was really inspiring and that pushed me to pursue this concept a bit more and take it a little further,” Shetty said. “I have been working with this concept for the past year and everything in this show has been made in the past year. It took a year after the conference for me to completely develop it and realize I wanted to make my own work.”

Shetty also created two pieces involving education. One piece has a small girl with no face. Her lack of features represents a girl without her own identity.

“In India, it’s a competition and a race where everyone wants you to become a doctor or engineer, or a lawyer,” Shetty said. “Something super prestigious. But, when I moved to America, I was able to explore what I want to do more. The difference in how the two different cultures approaches the decision making and how you own your identity.”

Many of Shetty’s family and friends enjoyed the show. They discussed her art and shared Indian dishes.

“I am very proud of her,” said Pushpa Shetty, Kritika Shetty’s mother. “All the pieces are good. She did struggle on some. It has made me very proud.”