Hetain Patel is a visual artist who has emerged from the Nottingham art scene and is now achieving international success. His new solo exhibition at the New Art Exchange is a much anticipated homecoming showing new work never seen before. At Home reflects Hetain’s increasingly prevalent relationship to the domestic, both formally and conceptually. The video and photography works are nearly all shot in the home environment. These settings are not only places where Hetain’s domestic and studio lives blur, but they also highlight the subject matter in his work. He suggests the home as a place to locate and challenge notions of the authentic self.
Creative Nottingham caught up with him at the launch event.
What fuels your creativity?
My inspiration comes from a mixture of things, but mostly I am driven by the desire to create something, communicate ideas and connect with people. Although a lot of my work is cultural specific I hope that the work I create evokes broader questions.
Did you like the art scene in India?
Yes, I was only there for a month but did attend the Art Fair in Delhi and am hoping to go back there more frequently. There is a really vibrant indie music scene in Mumbai. I was really struck by the desire in the younger generation to break from the Bollywood stereotypes and express the multiple layers of their new identity.
People often talk about the difficulties about reconciling two different cultures but your work seems very positive and seems to celebrates both cultures
Yes, you can’t really grow up in two different cultures and not have difficult times, but I felt that it was important to focus upon ideas and themes that have a common thread across cultures. There are aspects of ones identities, which are common to all cultures, and a lot of my work explores this.
How supportive were your parents and did it take time to convince them that art is a viable career?
I was lucky because my parents were very supportive. At first, they were worried about whether I would be able to feed myself, but I was bought up to be a grafter, and am always working. They recognize the importance of my work and they will be coming later today to the exhibition.
The exhibition involves my grandmother, my wife and my father, three people who are important to me. I did talk to them a lot and made sure they were happy with everything at every stage. I was particularly concerned about my grandmother because she is almost 100 years old and I did talk to my mother about her a lot. My interactions with my family members are pivotal to who I am, and I felt it was important that I explored this aspect of my identity.
You really work across different art forms and manage to keep the quality of work consistent – is this difficult?
I treat the different art forms as a means to an end… it all comes from a desire to use the body to communicate and explore cultural memory, and our own cultural history.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
I am hoping to work on larger pieces of work with different arts forms. I have an idea involving sculptures I am thinking about at the moment.
What would you like to see more of in Nottingham?
I think I would like to see much more collaborative across different arts forms. It’s a great time for exploring ideas and we would benefit from more collaborative work.
What keeps bringing you back to Nottingham?
I love being here, and the place has given me such support. After I left Nottingham Trent University I was lucky to get an award from Decibel and this allowed me two years to develop my artistic practice. I work with a number of local groups and have a lot of friends and love being here. A lot of students from Nottingham Trent University stay here and develop their studio and art practices and we are lucky that Nottingham is a great buzzing place for the visual arts.
Hetain Patel : At Home is currently showing at the New Art Exchange until the 14th July 2012.
New Art Exchange, 39-41 Gregory Boulevard, Nottingham, NG7 6BE
New Art Exchange www.nae.org.uk
Hetain Patel http://www.hetainpatel.com