Having boxed most of my life away in storage for nine months has kind of left me in awe of just how much stuff I actually have. Unpacking is daunting and almost every object feels decadent after wearing the same two pairs of jeans for three months on the road. I get distracted from the task by every little thing. Also, I have a lot of books. And I have a habit, when reading books, of leaving a train ticket or a photograph or the bill from a nice meal I had in the pages, so that when I come to it again, I remember the story but also my story - where I was and what kind of things I was doing when I last read it. It's nice to find an old postcard from my friend Ree in my copy of The Shipping News, or a boarding pass for my 1999 London - Istanbul flight in my copy of 100 Years of Solitude.
My copy of Shazia Sikander's catalogue from her MCA exhibition in 2008 has a baby picture of my niece Harriet. My niece who just started school. It was a gift from my sister and her hubby about six months after she was born, for helping them out with things when she was small. As if I didn't love every minute.
We all saw the exhibition together and they knew how mad I was about her work. It was, without a doubt, a favourite collection for me. Her work draws on ancient Indian motifs and techniques and is sometimes subtle and understated, sometimes bold and dramatic. From memory, she works in watercolours and oils and also has some multi-media work. There was one installation in particular that took my breath away.
The picture here is limited in detail, but you can appreciate the scope and beauty of her colours and the lines and shadows of her work. I remember staring at if for ages, while Harriet slept very quietly in the pram beside us.
I love that my afternoon of unpacking had a little of this particular memory in it.