As the world reawakens; we’re tentatively working out what the ‘new normal’ means for our daily lives and experiencing the joy of seeing friends and family again. To mark this unique time, here at the Affordable Art Fair, we’ve decided to explore the theme of human connection, reaching out to some of our talented roster of artists whose work delves into the myriad facets of our daily experiences.
Bindi Vora is a contemporary photographic artist, whose recent body of work, ‘Mountain of Salt’ is inspired by the politicised language of COVID-19, making it not only a topical theme we can all relate to, but also one that presents a fascinating viewpoint of the media rhetoric we’ve been subject to in our daily lives. There are over 200 works in the series which is still growing and evolving, as Bindi details in our interview below.
Meet the artist: Bindi Vora
Hi Bindi, we love the nostalgic, narrative nature of your work – what inspires you?
Thank you, that’s really appreciated. A lot of my work is inspired by my everyday surroundings and my archive. The archive is an ever-growing resource formed of visual and text-based materials which are remnants and debris of previous projects as well as found images and language which is continuously added from a variety of sources. This allows me to choose from a myriad of possibilities of materials from which I reuse, recycle or reimagine to create new ideas, new narratives and new works; each work produced can often be traced back to one another almost like interconnected tissues.
What has become the ‘new norm’ in your creative practice?
My practice is ever evolving and pretty fluid – it often ebbs and flows depending on my creative energy, headspace and work schedule. My studio is still a work in progress, but this time at home has given me a moment to adapt the way I work to my environment. ‘Mountain of Salt’, the newest work I have been making over the last four months, is a digital series which enables my workspace to be flexible. Having recently spent some of lockdown landscaping our garden I’ve found this new space to be incredibly calming, and it has offered me a small oasis in which to think, read and test ideas in a different way.
We’re excited to be selling works from ‘Mountain of Salt’ on our online marketplace. We understand the series is inspired by the recent pandemic, could you tell us more?
I am delighted the works are available to acquire through Carrie Scott & Partners on your platform – this particular series, as you mention, was conceptualised as a human response to COVID-19. I, like many others have become acutely aware of the landscape in which we are living in, where everything has felt incredibly amplified and 'Mountain of Salt' was my way of digesting the myriad news, statistical curves and new rhetoric. For me, it highlighted the way in which language, words and speech has this physical presence; a bearing upon us which carries an enormous weight.
Each composition is formed of a found photograph, appropriated text and digital shapes, all of which are collaged together. Although the series was initially made as a response to the coronavirus pandemic, the body of work evolved and is now encompassing so many more moments that have affected us well beyond the virus – conversations around oppression, racism and trauma all feature. The words, phrases and sentences seen here are collected from the daily briefings, twitter commentary and articles being shared across news platforms, or even placards from various protests that were initiated in response to the global Black Lives Matter movement which caught my eye, such as the piece ‘Statues Are Not Neutral’ in response to the toppling of the Edward Colston statue in Bristol.
The inspiration and title of the series are current, however, the images you use are historical, why is this?
This was a work where it felt fitting to delve back into the archive, it didn’t feel like a moment to take or make new images. It was really about highlighting the sentiment that these moments, these ideas, these visuals have happened before and continue to occur. All the images that you see appearing in the series, vary in their age some were early stereoscopes, others were Polaroids, some were medium format prints, and press photographs fluctuating between colour and black and white images – but all are markers of a particular time and moment. By applying the same treatment, cropping them to the same size, it creates a sense of uniformity where the language and the image can sit in tandem together and create a way of archiving this material and processing it as well.
Can you tell us about the function and semantics behind the digital shapes layered on top of the artworks?
Throughout the unfolding of the pandemic, especially in the UK, there has been a very distinct rhetoric around a sense of unity and togetherness which is constantly being fed to us. The shapes that you see in the images, such as the squares and circles, are a semantic response to this rhetoric, they aren’t only there to direct your gaze, but reflect on the etymology of what they represent – unity, togetherness etc. all play a part in the reading of the works.
Has the series led to positive debate around language?
The work has had a positive response, people are intrigued by the combination of image and text and more so, it has reminded them of some of the curious phrases, confusing sentiments and downright racist language that has been disseminated to us over the last few months through the news by leading politicians and individuals.
Some of the works were composed as provocations to what was happening around us especially in a moment when organisations and individuals were posting about reform and change where language once more was being used to make statements.
Do you collect art yourself?
I do, I have a few wonderful pieces that adorn the walls of our home. It’s a small collection of predominantly photographic pieces but with some paintings amongst them too, some of which have been gifted to me, other pieces I have acquired over the last decade or so. I often buy a piece as a marker of a particular event of significance that might have happened in that year – a new job; selling an artwork of my own; birthdays etc. In the last few years I have been fortunate to acquire pieces by artists such as Zanele Muholi, Broomberg & Chanarin, Dafna Talmor, Stephen Gill, Awoiska van der Molen, Martina Schmid and Maarten van den Bos amongst others.
I look for works that support artists, public sector organisations or charities close to my heart such as the Hospital Rooms. With this new work ‘Mountain of Salt’, 10% of profits from sales of the series will be donated to the Hospital Rooms, an arts and mental health charity that commissions extraordinary artworks for NHS mental health inpatient units across the UK.
Huge thanks to Bindi for giving such clear insight into her work and inspiration, it has certainly made us reflect on the impact of language on our daily experience. If you, like us, can’t wait to study more of Bindi’s works from the ‘Mountain of Salt’ series, simply follow the link below.
Artist Bindi Vora, photograph credit to Laura Hensser for iheartwomen.co.uk
Featured art from first to last:
Bindi Vora, A Community of Values, 2020, Archival Print, H 20.32cm x W 20.32cm x D .5cm, £360, Carrie Scott.
Bindi Vora, The Rumours Are True, 2020, Archival Print, H 20.32cm x W 20.32cm x D .5cm, £360, Carrie Scott.
Bindi Vora, Human Touch May Be The Enemy, 2020, Archival Print, H 20.32cm x W 20.32cm x D .5cm, £360, Carrie Scott.
Bindi Vora, Skin Colour Is Not Reasonable Suspicion, 2020, Archival Print, H 20.32cm x W 20.32cm x D .5cm, £360, Carrie Scott.
Bindi Vora, Watch And Wait, 2020, Archival Print, H 20.32cm x W 20.32cm x D .5cm, £360, Carrie Scott.
Bindi Vora, Cough Etiquette, 2020, Archival Print, H 20.32cm x W 20.32cm x D .5cm, £360, Carrie Scott.
Bindi Vora, I Can't Make This Any Better, 2020, Archival Print, H 20.32cm x W 20.32cm x D .5cm, £360, Carrie Scott.
Bindi Vora, Resisting The Authority of Ignorance, 2020, Archival Print, H 20.32cm x W 20.32cm x D .5cm, £360, Carrie Scott.