Bhumika Sethi: Connecting Cultures
Form/Design Center, Malmö, SE
16.02. – 31.03.2024

Bhumika Sethi: Connecting Cultures Form/Design Center, Malmö, SE 16.02. – 31.03.2024

Bhumika Sethi, Hero

“Connecting Cultures” by Bhumika Sethi (b. 1996, India) narrates her experiences of living in and between two cultures: India and Sweden. The work comprises hand knotted and tufted tapestries constructed together to create a unique space with both an interior and exterior. Upon entering the inside of the work, one can see special memories about her journey to Sweden and the people who are part of Sethi’s life in the country. Each memory represented in the narrative is embellished with 17th century patterns from the Skåne region; floral wreaths and cherubs embrace the characters in the scenes.

On the exterior side of the work, landscapes about life and culture of India are presented. The identity of the country is easily recognizable as Sethi weaves intentional stereotypes such as snakes, elephants and unique architecture to create reference points while the scenery exposes gender inequality where men are free to move outside the home to work and visit temples while women remain at home. Both narratives express notions of home and unite Sethi’s identity, but “Connecting Cultures” is also subtle commentary on the challenges of being part of both cultures. Despite our contemporary times, women in India do not enjoy the same equal opportunities as women in Sweden. Moreover, the structural framework of Sethi’s installation — the inside and outside — symbolize being someone from outside of Sweden trying to break boundaries and be part of Swedish society.

In tandem with the narrative textile piece, there exists another textile work that casts a shadow on Sethi’s artistic journey. This piece highlights the challenges of relocating to a new country, grappling with cultural disparities, and the chaos experienced during the creation of the narrative textiles. It portrays that every journey has to go through a turbulent passage to reach a finished destination. Sethi wanted to display those emotions behind a perfect narrative story, a process which is marked by hurdles and uncertainity. The amalgamation of diverse materials, colors, and irregular patterns in this piece poignantly captures the essence of uncertainty, adding depth to the overarching narrative.

About the artist
Bhumika Sethi, a textile artist from India, has found a new artistic home in Sweden, where her work goes beyond borders to explore the rich tapestry of cultural meaning. Committed to cultural sustainability, Sethi dives into the intricate threads of tradition, revealing stories that connect with people around the world.

Moving to Sweden sparked a transformation in Sethi's art as she aimed to bridge her Indian roots with the Nordic landscape. Her creations become vessels carrying diverse cultural narratives, creating a dialogue that goes beyond geographical boundaries.

At the core of Sethi's work is a dedication to highlighting often-overlooked artisans using knotted weaving techniques. She challenges the idea of this ancient craft as a mere product, advocating for its recognition as a form of art. Through her detailed tapestries, Sethi addresses the contrast of these techniques being seen as utilitarian rather than expressions of human creativity.

Bhumika Sethi's craft fuses culture and sustainability, challenging modern craftsmanship norms. Her textiles are symbols of cultural preservation, telling stories of resilience and creativity that transcend the loom, bridging tradition with the present.

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