IAAC Exhibition of Contemporary Indian Art of the Diaspora 2013

Ela Shah
Ela Shah

I have been working on a new body of work that uses video as a new language but continues to explore my interests in age - old issues. I explore themes including home, globalization, personal and cultural identity. My new sculpture series is called "Renovations" and it includes videos embedded within the sculpture. The short videos (about 1 minute) play in a loop inside the burnt wood wall sculptures with 7" or 5" portable DVD players (hidden in the design). The videos are scenes I have shot on my travels abroad including India and animations using some of my own paintings and sculptures.

Ela Shah was born in Bombay, India. She began painting at a very early age, and living in India she learned Indian miniature painting techniques as well as various Western styles. After receiving her Bachelors degree in Psychology and a Diploma in Fine Arts from India, she traveled around the world and subsequently moved to the United States and received her M.A. in sculpture at Montclair State University. Although an American citizen, she has been able to hold on to her Indian heritage and incorporate elements of it into her artwork along with Western influences.

Ela Shah has had numerous one person shows in India and America. Her work has been exhibited in countless group shows in America and abroad in various prestigious galleries and museums. She has also held positions as a chairperson for the National Association of Women's Artists in N.Y, and has curated shows for them and other art institutions.

Her work is in collection in N.J. State Museum, Montclair Museum, Jersey City Museum, Newark Library, Hunterdon Museum Air India, Indian Embassy and other public places and private collectors. She has received numerous awards and fellowships including the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, the Dodge Foundation and the New Jersey Innovative Printmaking Fellowship at the Rutgers University. She has received two awards from National Association of Women Artists in New York, which are the Amelia Peabody Memorial Award and Elizabeth Morse Genius Foundation Award.

Her work also addresses the conflicts between the spiritual and material world. The works are spiritual, but the notion of religiosity is universal rather than specific in nature. They depict how women keep faith in the modern world. Her work depicts women's hopes, fears, pleasures and pains, as well as their confusions between a family life and a successful career.
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