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Suchitra Mattai at Roberts Projects


When walking into Roberts Projects’ new space on La Brea, a swirl of color overtakes you. Suchitra Mattai’s fiber-based works span the gallery walls and large woven orb forms hang from the ceiling. Mattai’s innovative fiber works involve weaving brightly-colored saris (some of them family heirlooms) together into larger tapestries, the material infusing a personal and cultural perspective into the work. Mattai often pulls from her Indo-Caribbean heritage and has described her process as one of “brown reclamation.” 

Mattai intervenes directly on found European tapestries (many featuring pastoral scenes of individuals at leisure) by embroidering brown skin onto figures or editing out other faces all together. The figures are embellished with traditional beadwork, a technique — along with weaving, embroidering, and sewing — that Mattai learned from her grandmothers. Many of these reconfigured scenes place women of color in a central position, upending traditional colonial narratives and celebrating women as central forebearers of culture and history alike. 

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Suchitra Mattai, In the absence of power. In the presence of love. (installation view) (2023). Image courtesy of the artist and Roberts Projects.