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Los Angeles | APRIL 13TH - MAY 18TH
OPENING Saturday April 13th 2-5pm

We are delighted to present “Stitches of Care,” Ekta Aggarwal’s second solo exhibition at Five Car Garage, which reveal new wall works and suspended billowing tapestries . Hand sewn in India  and California, by the artist and her team of female helpers. Ekta weaves together her two countries of residence and identities by transforming scrap material from Delhi into paintings.  The handmade  and labor intensive practice meets the edges of her training - an MFA from Calarts , an MA in Fine Art from Chelsea College of Arts, London, as well as a BA in Economics from Hindu College, University of Delhi.

This new body of work comprises six paintings and three large textile works hung in the space. These works are an exploration of color, line, materiality and beauty. Some of the paintings in this series engage with positive and negative space while the hung tapestries occupy the liminal space between flat and three-dimensional space. Paintings titled Pieces of the Past: I, Pieces of the Past: II and Pieces of the Past: III are made withscrap fabric leftover from works made in the last few years. The three large hand embroidered textile tapestries have an underlying pattern of lines hand drawn by the artist with a pencil. Working slowly with a contemplative process, these networks of hand drawn pencil lines mirror the metaphysical networks of thought process as they unfold.

Textiles serve as accumulators of time in her work pointing to the slow processes that make khadi, a fabric that form the base of all of her paintings. Khadi, a hand spun cotton created by Gandhi, played an important role in India’s struggle for freedom. The scraps of fabric in the paintings have been collected in her studio over the years and come from a design project she has in Delhi.The wall works function as paintings and the hung textile tapestries address the sculptural aspect of textiles and the architectural space of the gallery as they invite the viewer to walk around the works and see the works from all angles.

In the artist’s own words:

“I work with Khadi, scrap fabric and thread. I also work with women who live in low income neighborhoods near my home studio in Delhi. The women I work with need the job and I need their assistance to make these textile works in my studio. Making these textile works is a way of life for us. While working on this series, my days start early in my Delhi studio as I spend a few hours every morning and sometimes in the evening drawing lines, ironing and glueing scrap fabric. I create compositions and get the  works ready before my  assistants came in. We then get ready to embroider and sew.

A lot of the scrap fabric used in these paintings is left over from the works in the previous years. Every tiny bit of each of these works has been stitched and embroidered with a lot of care and attention. Listening to music, sipping hot tea, talking and embroidering these large textile works fills our time, and provides structure to our days.

The studio is a safe space for us- to make work, have conversations, think, be ourselves and speak our mind. It has become a meeting point for women to make friends and exchange notes on their kids' education, recipes and dishes, family stories, small joys and at times personal ups and downs. Working with these women in my studio has also meant navigating personalities and dealing with lipstick marks and oil stains on my work. Despite the challenges, I find myself looking forward to my day in the studio. This work is meaningful to me as not only do I enjoy making it with a team, but it also helps me connect with people living around me. I have learned that the work is also meaningful to these women I work with as it provides them with employment, a safe work environment and means to support their families.”

Ekta Aggarwal is a multidisciplinary artist based in Delhi and Los Angeles. She has an MFA in Art from California Institute of the Arts, an MA in Fine Art from Chelsea College of Arts, University of the Arts London, and a BA (Honours) in Economics from Hindu College, University of Delhi. She has received several awards and scholarships, including the Pollock Krasner Foundation Grant, Finalist, The Hopper Prize, Diversity Grant, Provost’s Merit Scholarship and Hybrid Incubator for Visionary Entrepreneurs from California Institute of the Arts, Workshop with Hochschule Fur Bildende Kunste, among others. Ekta’s work has been shown at Emma Gray HQ (Five Car Garage), REDCAT, Monte Vista Projects, Ladies’ Room, Steve Turner Gallery and The Box Gallery in Los Angeles, Ortega y Gasset Projects in New York, Made in Arts London in London and Galerie Romain Rolland in Delhi. She has participated in residencies at The Joseph and Anni Albers Foundation, Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar and the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts. She has done curatorial projects for REDCAT and California Institute of the Arts Library.