BA Illustration Alumna Mathilda Della Torre has been freelancing as an illustrator and graphic designer in London since graduating from Camberwell College of Arts last summer. Mathilda is currently preparing for her first Solo Exhibition and workshop ‘India through my eyes, your eyes, our eyes’ which will be on show at R.A.W Labs 20 – 28 January 2018 and here she explains a little more about her show and the inspiration behind it:
I traveled to India after saving for a year, I sold some of my prints in shops and exhibition spaces to help fund the trip. I chose to travel to India because it had been a country that fascinated me from a young age, because of the colours, the culture, the food, and everything I had read or seen about it. I travel because it makes me receptive, because it forces me to approach new places with humility and because I carry with me no rigid ideas about what is interesting.
I found everything in India so stimulating and sometimes even overwhelming, which is why I drew so much when I was there, it was a way to digest all the new information that was thrown at me. When I arrived in India, I was faced with a captivating yet overwhelming reality. With every train ride, I consciously understood more of the reasons behind my attraction of how this country was based on contradictions. The contrast between the old and the modern, poor and rich, chaotic and serene, polished and crude, dirty and immaculate.
While I was in India I led a series of creative workshops at Chandigarh College of Architecture to try and discover, as well as understand, a new perspective on India. The workshops were based on exchanges, conversations and collaborations with students that shared with me their vision of the country. We painted, drew, wrote and talked together to create a portrait of India through our eyes. The students in the workshops showed me how they saw their country, through words and drawings that I have included in the exhibition publication. I think together we produced our own unique portrait of India.
When I returned to the UK, I created a series of 12 original hand pulled screen-prints based on 12 adjectives used by the students to describe India, aiming to portray an authentic representation of my experience. This creative process taught me how to see, how to notice, rather than to look. It gave me a deeper understanding of what makes India the fascinating country it is today.
My image of India was shaped by photographer Steve McCurry’s photos and writings from his travels in India, which I absolutely love. It was a dream come true to see for myself everything he had portrayed. A quote by Steve McCurry sums up India very well:
“The depth of culture [in India], the visual chaos, the endless variety of dramatic cheek-by-jowl juxtapositions it affords: modernity and tradition, the haves and have-nots, the usual and the bizarre.” – Steve McCurry
I have selected a collection of work from the workshops and made a publication as a documentation of this project. All this work is going to be exhibited at the end of January at R.A.W. Lab. The Private View was last Friday 20 January with a drawing and painting workshop also being held on the 27 January 2018. I hope the exhibition and publication shows everyone how I saw a small portion of the world, and in consequence opens your eyes to it.
Spaces for the workshop are limited so book your tickets here
I wanted to share a quote that underpins one of the core elements of the workshops I conducted while in Inida. I also think it is something that studying at UAL really taught me and I have applied from being a student to a freelancer.
“I understand that we are smarter than me, and that’s one reason I like the idea of sharing” – Toba Beta
Find all the info on the FB event here!
All images courtesy of Mathilda Della Torre.