03 Feb – 27 Feb 2021
Areez Katki is a multidisciplinary artist & writer whose practice explores his genetic heritage and landscape through embroidery, tapestry weaving, beadwork, painting, printmaking and sculpture. Born into a Persian Zoroastrian family in Mumbai, India, Katki’s work addresses the social constructs of spirituality, identity and sexuality while, at the same time, raising questions about the political nature of craft itself. With a background in Art History, Katki proclaims his role as a craftsperson within the realm of contemporary art.
Areez has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Auckland (2012) and recently completed a Masters in creative writing from Victoria University’s International Institute of Modern Letters. Since early 2020 he has been based in Pōneke, Wellington, where he continues working on various creative projects. Areez’s work is held in public and private collections across Aotearoa.
‘Thieves’ Market’ is a visual inventory that catalogues exhumed, stolen and reclaimed ephemera from the perspective of a postcolonial observer. The 45 tapestry fragments in ‘Thieves’ Market’ were hand-woven by Katki using a Zoroastrian beadwork technique that the artist has taken over three years to research and inherit from members of his matrilineal family. While these coded materials present a domestic simplicity through the framework of tapestry weaving against a grid (his great-grandmother’s Czech glass beads are woven with mercerised cotton thread), the complexities of this project reside in the objects represented within the grid forms. Obfuscated, cropped, pixelated—a faint representation of objects, historic figures and landscapes that have been subject to rupture or theft from Indigenous dominion.
Katki’s ‘Lot.’ works are composed into 14 clusters of a fragmented frieze, presenting a way to view the worlds of Ancient Persia, Greece and India through a pixelated lens; they question how the intervening hands of colonisers, their archaeologists, museum institutions—gatekeepers of a dominant culture—produce hegemonical systems of violence. This is a survey that poses questions about both an immeasurable loss and a desire for reclamation.