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  • Writer's pictureChiara

Tisna Sanjaya

As I was wiping one of my big copper plates yesterday, the work of printmaker mixed media and performance artist Tisna Sanjaya came to mind. Today, my lecturer reminded me of his work and its relevance to what I'm doing. Sanjaya was artist in residence at RMIT in early 2018. The opening of his exhibition at Site 8 Gallery was held during my first week as a student of printmaking at the University. I remember RMIT Technical officer Rob Dott standing in just the same place as I stood yesterday wiping one of Sanjaya's copper plates ready to be printed.

In this body of work Sanjaya used soft ground, sugar lift and aquatint to register imprints of his hands, feet and face onto the copper plate. The presentation of the prints, copper plates and accompanying video and performance work clearly referenced the Muslim ritual of washing the face, hands and feet prior to bowing towards Mecca in prayer.

The horizontal orientation of the copper plates on low plinths in the gallery was reminiscent of the placement of Muslim prayer rugs.

A few incomplete thoughts:

  • Sanjaya's work is bold and deliberately performative. I still feel tentative about the subject matter I am dealing with. One of my challenges is to incorporate that tentativeness into my prints.

  • Sanjaya's message is embodied in the copper plates and their corresponding prints. I am seeking to embody aspects of my trauma and my growing awareness of its political implications in my work.

  • The installation of Sanjaya's plates and prints brings an implied sculptural dimension to the work which activates the gallery space in a way that conventional hanging of 2-dimensional prints could not. This multiplies the impact of the work. I am looking for ways to install my work that will enhance its impact and disturb the routine of the viewers' casual interaction with it.

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