Employee: Sujata Tibrewala Title: Artist Field/Career: Visual Arts
major accomplishment going by the experience of the other artists in the field at the time. The economy was really doing bad, and no one was really buying any art at the time. The fact that my audience felt I was doing something which was missing in the art world, and the fact that I enjoyed working on paintings all day long (contrary to my belief that it will also become like work at the end of the day), I decided to leave my job as a full time engineer, making the temporary medical break permanent. Starting at that point in 2008, I have held many exhibitions and workshops in India and now in the U.S. I have also co-founded an art cooperative in Naperville called F.I.R.E. Art Studios and Gallery (F.I.R.E.stands for Feel Introspect Rejuvenate Express). What keeps me going today is the belief that my art questions the status quo. The day I stop doing that I feel I am dead as a person and an artist.
One such incident stands out from the rest from my exhibition at New Delhi, India. My solo show planned there was on women’s history, showcasing the lesser known facts about women and our society which serves as a basis for the unfair position women in our society find themselves in today. The title of the show was ‘Zara Hizaab Uthao: The His-story of women”. The title translated in English as “Drop the Veil Please from the His-story of Women”. Many people were drawn to the exhibition, by just the title. One such person was a reporter of a regional newspaper. She came in and told me how she had stopped coming to art exhibitions, as she never found anything new and interesting, and how this title pulled her in. Then when I told her that the inspiration behind my exhibition was the inequality of women, she said, “But women are already free, see I am working and I am reporter, I earn money and my family has no problem with it.” But when I started asking her more questions, she realized how “not” free she was. How different expectations were, in terms of who will control the finances, who will make the decisions, and who will do the household chores… I do not know whether that was my accomplishment or failure, for she came in thinking she was happy, and that she knew everything about gender equality, and went back realizing how caught she herself was in this web of gender inequality. Needless to say she wrote about my art, and came in personally to give me the newspaper where it appeared, but to this day, I cannot read it, as it is in a language I do not read or write…
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My solo show planned there was on women’s history, showcasing the lesser known facts about women and our society which serves as a basis for the unfair position women in our society find themselves in today...The title translated in English as “Drop the Veil Please from the His-story of Women.”
What is one of the most memorable experiences of your career as an artist? It is hard to pin point a certain instance, because as an artist you are always exposing your work to people and meeting anyone new is an experience. Particularly intriguing is when you really feel your art has changed someone’s way of thinking.