By Skarma Sonam Tashi
"I am interested in material as a content. It has a multi-layered context which generates the experience of an image. In my work I experiment with everyday recycling material, this is a direct element in my work. It derives visual experience through repetition and creates new relationships with the material beyond its functionality. It fulfils a transitional function, like a metaphor."
Skarma Sonam Tashi's are playful, intuitive and often refer to the transforming experience of landscape. They are created with egg trays, made of rags, which are processed and moulded in an industry. The surface of the material is similar to mountains. It is a two-and-a-half dimensional object which offers him possibilities for imagery and connects the memory of landscape. From a poor quality material container, just sufficient for the safe transport of eggs, he reused egg trays as a sustainable transmitter of durable pictorial ideas. There is a metaphor for coexistence between the organic and industrial practice, because the raw material is organic and biodegradable, while the casted shape of egg trays are made from an industrial process. For Skarma, the egg tray is reminiscent of mountains, which gives the feeling of being immersed in a landscape.
During his residency, Skarma extended the previous practice of exploration and experimentation with various materials and used this opportunity to work within his homeland; He not only used egg trays but also recycled materials such as cardboard boxes. Skarma made paper mâché with the egg trays and mixed local clay. He then articulated the design using different architectural patterns.
"Painting is not confined to the canvas and other traditional flat surfaces, it can be done on any medium. I saw hundreds of visual possibilities on the surface of the egg tray which gave me an interesting grid spotted pattern with the play of light and shade. I also composed it with a flat surface such as canvas and fabriano sheet. I am fascinated by my own native landscape."
The egg tray reminds the artist of the mountain ranges of Ladakh, his homeland. "When I once travelled in an aeroplane, through its window, I saw a fascinating pattern as the play of light and shade of egg trays. The surface of egg curtains have dimpled forms which are the repetitive elements that create a sense of unity and harmony in my works. Repetition of the dimpled form leads to the dominance of a particular element or my assist in visual movement through a work." During the process, he documented his work in the form of images. Memories such as playing with snow in the mountains instilled a profound respect for nature in the artist.
Skarma Sonam Tashi graduated from Lamdon Model Senior Secondary School, Leh, in 2015. He then went on to study Fine Arts at IMFA (Institute of Music and Fine Art), Jammu University. After passing the BFA, he joined Kalabhavana Vushvabharati University, Shantiniketan, West Bengal. In 2021, Skarma returned to Leh, Ladakh. He is the recipient of the Lalit Kala Akademi Scholarship for the year 2021-22. His exhibition at LAMO is a part of the third Winter Artist Residency at the centre.