Samantha Carle on “Self-Portrait” by Shivangi Ladha

“Sleep. Wake. Rise. Repeat.

After weeks of withdrawal and isolation in the daily recurrence and habituations of this circuit breaker, Shivangi Ladha’s unconventional Self-Portrait seems strikingly familiar.”

Samantha Carle, FOM Docent for STPI

In her intimate screenprints, Ladha animates multiple versions of her body, posing herself repetitively in the motion of rising. The repetition of the drawings, screenprinted over the surface again and again, ultimately transforms Ladha’s form into formlessness, a blurred mass of lines and dense black spaces that she has been subsumed by. As the action of the artist’s body is repeated in the image, so we can imagine the repetitive action of the artist in the mechanical reproduction of the print, transferring the ink through the mesh screen over and over again. The repetition that seems initially almost meditative becomes a force of destruction and obliteration.

There is tension here. The calm simplicity we first see in such an uncomplicated movement and posture, versus the sense of spontaneity and purposeful energy in the denser, overlapping areas of the print, a sense of empowerment in Ladha’s self-multiplications, a sense of breaking free. These are not merely depictions of her experience, but at this time of confinement, they are a testimony to our collective voice and experience. While we are isolated and removed from even those closest to us, when being in a crowd of people is a distant memory, Ladha’s work serves to remind us not just of our individuality through this experience, but of our collectivity and connectivity.

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