Ketna is a highly prolific British-Indian multi media artist. Born in East Africa, educated in UK, and based in South East Asia for the last twenty years, she uses her training in Design and Architecture to map observations gleaned from her compulsive travels onto an existentialist, yet to be defined new global anthropology that is fast emerging. Having just transplanted her studio from Singapore to two 'travelling studios' in the UK and India, she describes herself as happily culturally schizophrenic, yet deeply grounded in an evolving human identity; beyond the rapidly evaporating boundaries of culture, nationality and geography. She believes that for most artists, there is no divide between their ‘private’ life and their ‘professional’ output. All realisations and insights gleaned from inter-personal relationships, travels, media etc can be transmuted into a heightened awareness / expression of where human society is at today, and possibly where it may be heading towards....
Patel's work has been exhibited at Museums, Galleries and Art Fairs all over the world. Aside from being the recipient of the prestigious ASEAN Art Award, Ketna is also a popular TV and Radio personality, and her Art has also been much sought after by the Entertainment Business. Some of her clients include IIFA (International Indian Film Academy) and Hollywood’s Mr Spike Lee. A voracious photographer, she was recently invited by SONY to be a brand ambassador for their digital camera advertising campaign, which was beamed to millions of people all over the world for more than six months. She has licensed her artwork for many applications; the last being an ongoing contract with the giant Austrian Furniture maker ADA to make artbed headboards inspired by European history. Likewise, she was also commissioned by Singapore based fashion label ‘AllDressedUp’ for their Spring/Summer 2010 collection, which was shown in 25 countries. She regularly supports charity / fund raising initiatives e.g in April 2015, she was invited by Singapore's AWARE and WOAM (Women on a mission) to stage a solo exhibition to raise money for the recent Nepal earthquake.
Fondly nicknamed as Asia’s answer to American Pop Artist Andy Warhol, Ketna is somewhat of a cultural chameleon. Brought up in East Africa, she left for London at age 14. Surrendering ‘Swahili’ for ‘English’, she spent a decade grappling through bewildering lessons on Shakespeare and European History before hurtling through two degrees in Design and Architecture. This resulted in a job at the Esplanade Theatres on the Bay in Singapore, slowly paving the way for a full time career in the Visual Arts that has now spanned internationally over the last twenty years.
Ketna’s words and work touch on the often bewildering changes brought about by the compression of ‘Identity’ through Globalization. In her opinion, societal conditioning and rigid, conventional education systems run the risk of trapping individual expression and potential. Through her visual narratives, Patel holds up a mirror to what is right under our noses. According to her, all that is casual, unrecorded and unspoken holds within it more information about where society is at rather than statistics, data and GDP. Our information age is a fluid one, and we need a flexible education and communication system that is more about understanding how all the dots are connected, rather than only knowing about the ‘dots’ themselves. She has thus deliberately chosen more unconventional, democratic ‘communication’ platforms to experiment with the outreach of her expression. Art and creativity should not be confined to rarified galleries and living rooms for the elite, but should ripple through all layers of community. From that logic, her 'canvas' can be quite unconventional; aside from paintings and prints, her 'Art' can span from a recorded interview with a village dweller to 'objects' and 'surfaces' that straddle design, lifestyle and utility.
See more work by Ketna here.