Sharmistha Kar’s practice revolves around the idea of mobility, journey, space and the distinctions between personal memory and collective memories by incorporating different techniques of hand embroidery in her works. In the past few years, she has focused on some of the keywords such as identity, cultural mapping, cartography and boundaries to comment on her social position as a migrant art practitioner.
Working with textile materials sourced from diverse cultures and places is fundamental to her practice, as they convey their cultural, geographical and historical significance while contextualising their appropriation in contemporary art. For her recent body of work, Sharmistha has collected recycled fabric from thrift stores in London, Ontario, discarded fabric from her family in West Bengal and other parts of India, and tarpaulin sheets. The use of single and layered fabric creates a semblance with the embroidered quilts (kantha) of Bengal, India. By showing the recto and verso of the embroidered artwork on the same surface of the fabric, the artist reiterates the coexistence of binaries of every sort. As she incorporates the traditional Japanese embroidery technique, Bunka, its fragile quality makes her realise, on a philosophical note, her own ephemeral existence as a living being.