Sarah Navqi

A “Mata ni pachedi” is a piece of cloth that constitutes the temple of a goddess. Also known as the “kalamkari” (a hand-painted or block-printed cotton textile), it owes its similarity to this technique practiced in Southern India. Mata ni pachedi (literally translates to “behind the mother goddess”) originates from the nomadic Vaghari community of Gujarat who, upon being barred from entering Hindu temples, made their own mobile shrines with depictions of the Mother Goddess on cloth. This sacred art form is today universally revered and used in decorating temples and shrines with narrative illustrations of religious stories. Conceived by Naqvi with master pachedi craftsman Chandrakanth Chitara, the work Yatra deals with the Ram Leela procession, which is a staged re-enactment of the ancient Hindu epic Ramayana, through the Muslim neighbourhoods of Ahmedabad, India. The procession has long been used by Hindu nationalist groups to stir communal tensions between Hindus and Muslims in a city infamous for its violent religious riots. The work examines this moment of tension, and the layered histories it embodies.

Sarah Naqvi places emphasis on the importance of being comfortable in our own bodies. She is known for her unconventional use of materials, medium and technique such as fabric manipulation, dyeing and appliqué on unusual materials such as sanitary napkins, bra cups and tampons. Naqvi studied textile design at The National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad and works with art based activism and material realities. From watercolor paintings to cloth and woolen sculptures of human body parts, her art is a celebration of body positivity and self-acceptance.