Taraxa, Saroj Patel, 2019 | Image: courtesy of the artist

Saroj Patel

In our next Mixing It Up feature, Saroj Patel shares how some of her childhood stories, heritage and personal experiences have inspired her work and practice.

"I create intricately detailed, tactile sculptures which invite playful audience interaction. I work with a range of materials rooted in Indian traditions as well as found items to create structure. Raised in the UK surrounded by a large Indian community, I have always been drawn to the aesthetics and ritualistic elements of traditional ceremonies. My practice is an opportunity to connect with these visceral aspects of my heritage and explore the joys and challenges of growing up as a woman between cultures.

I draw on the ritualistic practices and cultural traditions that have long influenced me. While my sculptures are celebratory of Indian culture, they are also a way to address my own relationship with my upbringing. Growing up in the UK, I always felt a tussle between two conflicting ways of life and have found myself struggling to fit all expectations. As a woman in particular, I experienced the pressure of trying to embody two starkly different gender expectations."

Saroj Patel was born in Preston, England. She graduated from Central St Martins, London, with an MA in Fine Art in 2019. Recent exhibitions include ‘Observational Realities’ (2022) at Clifford Chance, London, which was part of her 2020 win of the Clifford Chance Sculpture Prize; and ‘Materialisation of the New’ (2020), a group exhibition at Darl-e and the Bear in Oxfordshire. In 2022, Patel took part in Tate Lates’ panel discussion ‘She Made Me Do It’, exploring how women artists shape their practices. In 2019, she 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.