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Art Exhibit: Garam Garam Chai by Yusra Siddiqui

Event Details
April 2 – May 12, 2024
The Armory: Ellyn Bye Studio Lobby

Portland Center Stage will host Garam Garam Chai, an art exhibit by Portland-based multidisciplinary artist Yusra Siddiqui, featuring a series of handsewn teabag printmaking pieces that serve as a contemplation of the communal tea times shared between Desi and British culture.

This project finds its roots in the desire to narrate the shared moments of tea consumption, a practice that connects distant lands and diverse cultures. Drawing from British historical photography archives, I appropriated images of Indian tea plantations, and the people who have contributed their sweat and spirit to the plantations. 

These images, reimagined and reborn, are printed directly onto teabags using the Van Dyke photochemistry process, celebrated for its warm, sepia-toned hues. This choice of medium is deliberate, echoing the intrinsic connection between the subject matter and the artistic canvas. The teabags, handsewn together, create a patchwork of stories, further toned with actual tea, blurring the lines between the medium and the message. This technique not only imbues each piece with the essence of its subject but also pays homage to the organic beauty found in the work of early photographic pioneers and weaves a visual narrative that is steeped in history yet distinctly contemporary.

Garam Garam Chai is a tribute to their unspoken stories and the hands that nurture and harvest the tea leaves—highlighting not just the beauty of the tea culture but also the labor and livelihoods that sustain it. As a Pakistani artist, this series also nods to my roots and the nuanced history of these plantations, acknowledging the shadows of colonialism in the backdrop of resilience and culture.

This collection is set to be showcased at the Ellyn Bye Gallery from April 2 through May 12, offering a daily invitation to immerse in the visual and historical journey of tea.

Meet Yusra Siddiqui
Meet Yusra Siddiqui

Yusra Siddiqui is a Pakistani artist, whose work serves as a nod to her roots and the nuanced history of tea plantations, acknowledging the shadows of colonialism in the backdrop of resilience and culture.

Check out her website here.

Portland Center Stage is committed to identifying & interrupting instances of racism & all forms of oppression, through the principles of inclusion, diversity, equity, & accessibility (IDEA).

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