An Eye Inside: Jayeeta Chatterjee

22 February - 23 March 2024

Viewing Room


An Eye Inside presents Jayeeta Chatterjee’s journey from an interest in interiors and architecture to her documentation of the domestic feminine politics. This evolution has been swift and serendipitous and reflected in this exhibition that combines earlier works of coloured woodcut prints and a new body of work where she takes a step further in bringing woodcut print making and embroidery together to expand on newer narratives.


Through cloth scrolls, quilts and prints she documents nuances of working life from homes and communities in Bengal through woodblock prints on saris collected from the very women she bases her works on, and finally overlaid with Nakshi Kantha traditions. Chatterjee uses her phone to capture moments, both for spontaneity and to not disturb the convivial feminine circles she often slips into as a woman herself. As she speaks to her aunts and the women who work in her community, she records snippets of conversations, short videos and images.


Her art then brings this archive to life on cloth where the feminine dominates, and mundane domestic scenes take centerstage - a woman drapes a sari, sweeps a floor, another tends to children, an afternoon nap or a pensive aunt. When they step into their working lives, selling wares in a market, sorting and drying fish or gossiping on their haunches, it seems an expansion of their familial space even as they earn. Chatterjee observes, “These homemakers do important work and yet rarely get respect and somehow there was resonance for me as I work at home too, and people don’t understand the work of an artist either!”


Nakshi Kantha, practiced widely in Bengal is an age-old tradition where old cloth is repurposed as quilts with decorative stitches and forms a part of wedding trousseaus and gifts. Chatterjee, already confident with her training in printmaking first composes her subject onto woodblock print and the cloth. Each cloth quilt or scroll is embellished with hand stitches, a time-consuming process. She uses the embroidered stitch both as a metaphor and a technical overlay to create her art, telling the stories of her women and cleverly using the cloth also as layers, so that sometimes a woodblock printed cloth slips beneath another layer or sometimes stitched motifs convey another aspect of the narrative.


Chatterjee uses her eye to bring the inside to the outside as life glimpses of these women and in her creations.


-Deepthi Sasidharan

Installation Views