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Insiya Dhatt ~ California

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About: “Insiya draws inspiration from both her birthplace in the desert of Rajasthan and the intensity of her hometown Mumbai. After receiving her Masters in Banking and Economy, she spent 15 years shaping the face of eCommerce. During the following years, she left her position in the dot-com world to devote herself to art.”.”

Bay Area Bountiful: Made Here – Northern California Public Media – (PBS) TV interview of Insiya Dhatt

Alice in Wonderland
By Insiya Dhatt
San Francisco, California: Insiya Dhatt, 2022. Series variant.

4 x 4" paper base with 3 x 3 x 3" four-sided cube attached. Cube with one sheet fold out. on each of the four sides. Removable cube top with circular holes on each of the sides. Cellophane over the circular holes to act as windows to the fold-outs. This version uses gray and red papers.

Insiya Dhatt uses the Children's book by Lewis Carroll as her basis for her artist book "Alice in Wonderland". She calls this an open edition but it feels more like a series variant. Each book structure is unique in materials. The illustrations may be different with each structure.

Insiya Dhatt: “I choose to put in the illustrations. For example, cutouts are different depending on what I am trying to fit in. This 2022 version has the same words ‘We’re all quite mad here’ but the primary cut out is a hat while in a previous version it was a teapot. It's the same story - so content and sections remain the same. The variation is in the illustrations I create and cut and how I lay them out.”

The sides for this version are –
          “Off with their heads” with foldout around a heart
          “Curiouser & Curiouser!”
with a keyhole cutout.
          “The hurrier I go, the behinder I get”
with a circle motif.
          “We’re all quite mad her”
with a hat cutout.


Alice in Wonderland book
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By Insiya Dhatt
Poem by Athena Kashyap
San Francisco, California: Insiya Dhatt, 2022. Edition of 20.

12 x 9" closed; 11 pages. Double sided accordion. Bound like a wedding album with henna-colored handmade Japanese Momi Kyoseishi paper and covered in a bridal sari to represent the life of a married woman. The henna hands art was laser engraved on handmade Indian cotton rag paper using an Epilog Fusion Pro laser. The text is letterpressed printed using Garamond typeface on a Vandercook cylinder press. Signed and numbered by the artist.

Insiya Dhatt: “’Vidai’ was conceptualized at the beginning of 2022 to share the tradition of arranged marriages in India and the artist’s own experience.

"The book is a two-sided accordion and includes the poem ‘Hands Latticed’ written by Athena Kashyap in her book ‘Sita’s Choice’ about her grandmother’s experience in an arranged marriage. The book opens with the poem that aptly describes the trepidation faced by a young bride and a lifetime of molding to meet the expectations of an ideal wife. After the last page, the cover opens on the other side to give a glimpse of the artist’s experience with an arranged marriage.

Vidai is the ceremony in Indian marriages of saying farewell to your family – when a bride leaves her parents’ house to go to start a new life with her husband in his house. After this ceremony, the bride becomes a guest in her parents’ house and must fit into the house and family of the groom. “

Vidai book
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By Insiya Dhatt
San Francisco, California: Insiya Dhatt, 2019. Edition of 5.

8.5 x 8.5". Accordion structure. Eight laser-cut images.

Insiya Dhatt: “’Illusions’ examines the reality or elusiveness of basic qualities of life. By obscuring desirable qualities of life and placing them opposite optical illusions, ‘Illusions’ demonstrates the varying internal and external views of one’s foundational needs. From a distance, the book can be viewed as visually stimulating yet closer up the picture is more nuanced.

“’Illusions’ is an accordion book with eight laser-cut optical illusions with a single word opposite each optical illusion. These words and images question the availability of so-called expected qualities of life. In my own life, I created the illusion of strength for my family in my home country while I struggled internally in my life in the West.”
$750 (Last 3 copies)

Illusions book
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Insiya Dhatt SOLD /Out of Print Titles:

The Heart Longs
By Insiya Dhatt
San Francisco, California: Insiya Dhatt, 2019. Edition of 5.

5.5 x 5.5" closed. Materials: paper, ink, wood, paint. Housed in custom box of painted wood with movable base.

Insiya Dhatt: "'The Heart Longs’ is a handmade book with interleaving pages, the left side is comprised of Islamic interlaced symmetrical patterns featuring the 8-pointed star and the opposing side features the ghazal (sonnet) ‘Dil Dhadakne Ka Sabab Yaad Aaya’ by the late Pakistani poet Nazir Kazmi. This particular work is an interpretation of my experiences growing up as a Muslim girl in India.

“To escape Mumbai during summer, my family spent most of our summer vacations visiting hundreds of mosques that were full of intricate Islamic tiles of bright and vivid colors. Entry to these tranquil mosques required women to be covered by the burqa with our sight obscured and bodies hidden.

“The book’s structure is to simulate that experience of being restricted and yet at the same time exposed to such wondrous beauty. The ghazal I chose, essentially a poem expressing longing for a time (or person) that was no longer part of the present, mirrors the feelings I have towards the life I left behind. These memories are bittersweet and warm but are always interleaved with the pain of being hidden and lesser as a woman.”
(SOLD/ Out of print)

The Heart Longs book
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Page last update: 03.07.2023


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