Gathered around a table, a group quietly presses hibiscus phool into fabric prepped with cutch tannins. They roll the phool up, tie it into the fabric and place it into a metal quarter barrel in the lovo pit. While the steam begins the dye process, coals are heated in preparation for a BBQ. The ritual of preparing fabric for dyeing is held together with the act of gathering to eat, to feed and sustain each other.
Hātarei 4 Noema -
Hātarei 9 Tīhema
Saturday 4 November -
Saturday 9 December
First commissioned for Artspace Aotearoa’s group show Scores for Transformation (24 June – 19 August 2023), the large-scale textile Araam marks a significant shift in the maker Quishile Charan’s practice. In Araam, Quishile questions the intention of creating for a singular event—an exhibition—and the ways in which such processes stand in contradiction to what craft values. Prioritising functionality, this work was made with the intention of being unpicked after the exhibition and resewn into pillowcases for loved ones.
This second iteration of Araam features new textiles dyed with cutch tannins and genda phool in preparation for quilt squares and diamonds that will be pieced together to accompany the pillowcases. Araam looks to how craft functions as a practice and ritual that can only exist within the communities that nurture and care for it. It takes many relationships to uphold this practice of making, to live a life of shared cultural practices which is held in the everydayness of what it means to build and sustain a home with your loved ones.
Vinaka va’levu to Ruth Buchanan, Robbie Handcock and the rest of the Artspace Aotearoa team for the opportunity to make the first iteration of Araam (the large-scale textile). Vinaka to Blue Oyster for continuing to support the heart of this project and my making.
Vinaka to my Amma for gifting this new project its name, Araam. Vinaka to Jasmin for your loving words and to Matavai for continuing to envision and create visual worlds with me. To my chosen parivar, yous know who yous are. I can’t and could never envision a world in which yous aren’t with me, loving on me and supporting me endlessly. It truly does take the “love of the living and the dead”, always thankful to be building this ghare (home) together.
An Indo-Fijian craft and social practitioner, Quishile Charan approaches craft as a science-fiction practice of building new worlds from the seeds of reality. As a descendent of Girmit (indentured labour)—part of a history and present in which autonomy was/continues to be denied to her people—Quishile holds close a core set of anarchist—anti-colonial, anti-institution, anti-authority—values.
In her experimental, relational pursuits, Quishile expresses these values while seeking to form different visions of home with her own hands. Melted into Indo-Fijian gardening, cooking and living, it’s a family effort that prioritises the anti-colonial work of nurturing and caring for each other outside of Western hegemony. Quishile’s practice cannot function without the people in her life. A lot of her work lies in these relationships—choosing her family, holding them in the fabric of community and moving beyond historical systems of harm.
Quishile has an MVA from Auckland University of Technology, where she is also a PhD candidate in visual arts. She has exhibited at institutions including Artspace Aotearoa, Tāmaki Makaurau; SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin; and Kunsthalle Wien Museum. You can find Quishile working at her whare, which she shares with her chosen family in Aotearoa, making tarkari for loved ones, deep in talanoa while tending to her dye pots and sewing in the garage.