Saroj Patel's practice explores the contrasting and sometimes conflicting identities of a British Indian artist. She draws on the ritualistic practices and cultural traditions that have long influenced her and while Patel's sculptures are a celebration of Indian culture and community, they are also a way to address her own relationship with my upbringing. Growing up in the UK, surrounded by a large Indian community, Patel has always been drawn to the aesthetics and ritualistic elements of traditional ceremonies, but has also felt a tussle between two conflicting ways of life, finding herself struggling to meet all expectations. As a woman, she experienced the pressure of trying to embody two starkly different gender expectations. In Patel's practice she attempts to find an empowered space to connect with these visceral aspects of her heritage and explore the joys and challenges of growing up as a woman between cultures. Patel works with a range of materials rooted in Indian traditions as well as found items to create structure. Working intuitively, she creates organic shapes with materials such as Sari fabric, bells, glass beads, old clothes, steel, and ceramic beans. Texture is woven throughout her sculptures with delicate folds of fabric and elaborate bead work. Patel often creates site-specific pieces, taking her cue from the environment that will house the work. Patel's sculptures present imagined stories that expand on ritualistic practices, myths, Indian astrology, migration, race, identity and gender. She questions rigid ideas of ethnic identity through a fluid and open-minded exploration of her own experience and others.
Born in Preston, England, and now based in Oxfordshire, Saroj Patel graduated from Central St Martins, London, with an MA in Fine Art in 2019. In 2022 Patel was awarded an Arts Council England Developing Your Creative Practice grant. Recent group exhibitions include Zari Sona Moti: Glitter Gold Pearl at Darle and the Bear, Oxfordshire and Awe and Wonder, for the Chaiya Art Awards, London. In 2022 Patel was commissioned by Clifford Chance, London, to create Observational Realities, two sculptural installations for their offices, part of her 2020 Clifford Chance Sculpture Prize award. In 2022, she took part in Tate Lates’ panel discussion She Made Me Do It, exploring how women artists shape their practices and gave a talk at the Ways of Seeing Conference at the National Gallery, London. In 2019, Patel took part in Art Night, Hix Art and Participatory Workshops at Tate Exchange. The same year, she was a finalist in the Hix Award, shortlisted for the Tiffany & Co x Outset Studiomakers Prize and won the Tension Fine Art Gallery Prize.