Heart, Home, and Hearth
Sarindar Dhaliwa
June 9 — July 3, 1993

Essay by Shani Mootoo

Media Release June 1st, 1993
Sarindar Dhaliwal
Heart, Home & Hearth

The Or Gallery begins its summer programming with an installation by Kingston based artist Sarindar Dhaliwal, Sarindar recently spent two months in Vancouver at the Kakali paper studio on Granville Island making a series of pieces using wood pulp, pigments and straw. The conceptualization for this work was inspired by structures found in India that are made by stacking round disks of dried cow dung which are then used as fuel for cooking and heat. The series of pieces produced for this installation were constructed in a relatively short period of time and thus mark a point of departure in the artist’s traditional working method, Although the materiality of these works still references an intensely laborious and somewhat obsessive process many decisions as to form and colour and size were made spontaneously which according to Sarindar was a very refreshing way in which to work. Within the context of the many discussions around identity politics Sarindar Dhaliwal’s exhibition will present another opportunity for further considerations of questions around the idea of ‘home’, Where is home? What does it mean to have a home or not to have a home? How can we recognize home if we’ve never been there? How do we claim a space called home – homeland?

Heart, Home & Hearth

The other day I saw a poster on the wall of a restaurant: flaming organe sunset, a motorcycle blurred by speed, a dusty desert road, and larg white letter above that shouted SARINDAR. I took a second look, of course, and say that what it really said was SUNRIDER.

How and what I see has everything to do with what I already know. But the eyes and memory of border backpackers constantly negotiate the “trecherous angularity of sipways.” (Borrowed from Ian Rashid)

I walked several blocks along Hastings street before entering Or Gallery to see Heart, Home and Hearth, with my Indo-woman friend—long black wavy hair, and sking the sugary colour of lightly cooked gulab jamun. Out there on Hastings, she wore a blue sweater and faded grey jeans. The moment we entered the Or, this woman at my side, transformed in my eye by the familiarity of the shapes, substance, space and coulours, suddenly burst into a veritable dancing Saraswati, swirling dirvishly in an orange and gold sari amongst the artwork. A second delighted but baffled scrutiny from me and she was back flat in blue sweater and faded grey jeans, handss folded behind her back, styudying the works. Immense desire on my part to enter this particular work in a manner familiar to my fantastic memory.

I know you’re not supposed to eat the artwork. But I also know that Indians dont invite you to their house, put food out and not offer it to you. So I tasted the “Sugary” bed of crystals beneath the balls of rasamali, only to have my suddenly-awadened meethaiyearning tastebuds shocked that they were in fact rock-salt crystals.

Bitten once, I cautiously dipped my hand into the greeny yello curry-coloured powder base (yellow ochre, Robin Laurence calls it) on which sat a row of straw and wood pulp balls of decreasing size, hoping, almost begging for the tast, heat and smell of curry and tumeric, the sweltering sun, and sawying coconut tree. A thick and oily unrelenting powder strained my fingers, smeard my clothing, smelled like buttery dire. I didn’t dare taste it—clay talc from the Paint Pots, Banff, Albert.

Reflecting me, flirting with my memory, with my yearnings. Desire teases. Only to have my heart broken (strengthened?) by illusion.
Reminds me so muc of the flirting of straight, or married women.

Sarindar. Not Sunrider.

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Or Gallery

555 Hamilton St.
Vancouver, BC
Canada V6B 2R1

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