Suchitra Mattai explores how memory and myth can unravel and reimagine historical narratives. She works in painting, textile, drawing, sculpture and video to respond critically to colonial histories, particularly those pertaining to her Indo-Caribbean heritage. Mattai (b.1973 Georgetown, Guyana) received an MFA in painting and drawing and an MA in South Asian art from the University of Pennsylvania.
Her mixed-media pieces are densely layered and often large-scale and immersive. Imperfect Isometry (2019), which Mattai created for the 2019 Sharjah Biennial, included a 45-foot-long stitched tapestry of vintage saris that formed the cascading roof of a courtyard venue at the Biennial. In 2021, Mattai’s solo exhibition at the Boise Museum of Art showcased her use of found materials to reflect on her family’s journey from India to Guyana as indentured laborers and later to the United States. While primarily known for her textile sculptures, Mattai also creates figurative works on paper that fuse intricate embroidery with paint. Her richly patterned works explore ideas of ancestry, belonging, and displacement through a feminist lens.
Other recent projects include group exhibitions at the MCA Chicago, Crystal Bridges Museum, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and the John Michael Kohler Arts Center and solo exhibitions at the Kavi Gupta Gallery. Upcoming projects include solo exhibitions at the ICA San Francisco and Roberts Projects, Los Angeles. Her works are represented in collections which include Crystal Bridges Museum of Art, the Denver Art Museum, the Tampa Museum of Art, the Shah Garg Collection, the Perez Collection, the Portland Museum of Art, and the University of Michigan Museum of Art. Suchitra is also a recipient of the Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship.