Nikita Sheth unearths her heritage through the art of weaving
Calm, meditative, mindful are some of the words used by Nikita Sheth to describe herself. From speaking to her and learning about how weaving has helped her reconnect with her roots, we quickly realise the essence and purpose behind her work.
Australian born and raised artist Nikita Sheth is still perplexed about what drew her to weaving. “To this day, I still wonder what attracted me to it, I didn’t even know how to use a loom, I just bought it” explains Nikita. Throughout our conversation with Nikita it is evident that she was bound to come across weaving after dabbling in various art forms influenced by her artist-mother, to no avail. On her website she writes “weaving just ‘appeared’ at a time when I needed it most”.
What is even more astonishing is that two years after beginning her practice, Nikita’s grandfather saw her weaving and informed her that many of their ancestors, originally from Ahmedabad, Gujarat were also weavers. “He just knew so much about weaving, like how they dye each single strand.” explains Nikita.
She hasn’t looked back since and you can’t help but feel her passion, positive energy and her connection with the medium, she says “I work quite intuitively, I never have a set plan. I sit there and I have all my colours out in my room, there’s yarn everywhere and I just go with what I feel. When I’m creating, I just feel so free.” When asked about how consciously she thinks of India, Nikita replied:
“I never set out to create work that was inspired by India. When I first started out I was looking through books that were more [about] tribal patterns and shapes, but then I somehow found myself inspired by India. Now it underpins everything I do and a way for me to unlock and explore my culture with a purpose. That’s where I feel my biggest source of inspiration comes from.”
Interested by the notion of storytelling, Nikita’s work is filled with symbolism from India represented through colours, shape and texture. Images of saris worn by the desert women of Rajasthan, a tikka on a Sadhu’s forehead, the intricate archways of a temple and the backwaters of Kerala are just some of the sources of inspiration Nikita has translated across into weaves.
Going forward, Nikita plans to spend more time travelling around India, taking photographs of the landscape and meeting the variety of weavers.
Image credits: Nikita Sheth