A digital archive of Asian/Asian American contemporary art history

Sabharwal, Tara

Other Names: Sabharwhal

Artist Website

"In my paintings, I am interested in evoking a sense of mood, often connected with specific events and places, and especially those suggestive of dream and of memory. If a meaning is, as such, to be extracted, it is not through a direct reference to the figures as symbols, but by an oblique understanding. The figures are neither metaphors beyond themselves nor are they purely what they depict; the aim is to hold the mind in suspension over a field of possibilities rather than arrest it in a concept.

"I was born in India and studied painting in Baroda Art College, a college unique in its emphasis on both Indian and Western art and aesthetics. The language employed in my early pictures is largely derived form Mughal painting, with an interest in narrative and in flat pictorial space. After earning my bachelor’s degree, I won the British Council Scholarship to do my master's at the Royal College of Art in London. Direct exposure to European painting and especially to certain forms of Romanticism and Expressionism (the works of painters like Munch, Goya, and Blake) stimulated and enriched my pictorial language and I now experiment with looser structures, freer handling and deep pictorial space.

"Upon completion of my course I returned to live and paint in India (1985-1988) and had solo shows in Bombay (1986) and New Delhi (1987). In 1986 I also had a solo show in a London gallery and in 1988 came to England on the Myles Meehan fellowship to be the 'Artist in Residence' at the Darlington Art center. The following year I won the Durham Cathedral Residency, and like the previous year, continued to take part in group shows and workshops as well as teach painting in Newcastle Poly and Sunderland Polytechnic.

I am aware that my work is informed by my exposure to and interaction with the Indian and European traditions of art. However, despite my training and familiarity with the two traditions, my work is less concerned with the polemic of the relationship of the one tradition to the other, although there is apparent in my work an engagement with the contractions between the two and an attempt to utilize aspects of the language and the thought of each. I wish to assimilate the two, but in my own individual way, in a manner in which these two strains can express and celebrate themselves as they unite and separate only to meet once again to form a distinct identity. To quote William Blake, 'I must create a system, or be enslaved by another man's.'"

Tara Sabharwal, Artist Statement

Gallery of Selected Works

Artist Uploaded Images

Selected Documents

Other Links

View artist folder list at Asian American Arts Centre