5 October 2021

Priyanka D’Souza is an artist, writer and art historian in-residence at Delfina Foundation during autumn 2021. As a painter, her work draws from the politics and aesthetics of Mughal miniature painting practices, employing fiction as a tool to subvert and redress lacunae and exaggerations in what are believed to be historical ‘truths’.

In this edition of ‘Resident’s Room’, Priyanka offers a light-hearted introduction to her practice through items in her Delfina room-studio. 

“Pinka PopsicKle (artist Priyanka D’Souza’s dramatic and awesome, but cold and sick alter ego) in her room-studio at Delfina Foundation, which is as much of a mess as her life, health and hair. She is writing these captions in the third person to sound more profesh.”

“Pinka PopsicKle’s ingredients and instruments for wicked spells and potions that freeze dead animals and birds in time. Including: UK brand Windsor Newton cake colours (which are super expensive, but butter smooth); Good ol’Indian Camel brand watercolours; UK brand Daler Rowney pigments (also very smooth, but which tend to go mouldy in Mumbai weather); Palettes stained with malachite green, a colour found in many Indian Miniatures (find the real mineral in the Natural History Museum, London); Brushes including a squirrel ‘qalam’, which is used for Miniature painting; and a pot of Finetec Gold.”

“Pinka PopsicKle as an early-modern taxidermist creating the skin of the magnificent Simurgh according to reports by Jorge Luis Borges, who described the mythical creature as covered in “orange metallic scales”. She uses Safavid paintings and an MSI pen-drive named Puff the Magic Dragon as references for the modelling, and waste packaging paper and copper leaf as materials.”

“Experiments with red wax from Babybel cheese, copper leaf and wire. Before you raise your eyebrows at her process, you should see the wax sculptures of Neanderthal specimens in the Natural History Museum in London….”

“More experiments – this time with wall putty and copper leaf on blank Indian postcards (because they’re cheap, good-quality paper of ideal size – don’t go looking for political statements on nation states here).”

“Replicas of specimen records from the Bombay Natural History Society. These records feature endangered birds and animals from the erstwhile Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, part of her forever-ongoing project, Archive of Imagined Citizenship.”

“Pinka PopsicKle’s very sexy boots which she re-designed and modified with her parents to fit her AFOs (Ankle Foot Orthosis) and to do away with the cumbersome act of tying shoelaces. There are belt studs in the shoe-lace holes and metal washers attached to the laces that can be looped around the studs. Those who think accessible wear has to compromise on aesthetics just lack imagination (and genius).”

Priyanka D’Souza (India) is an artist-in-residence during Delfina Foundation’s autumn 2021 Collecting as Practice season. Her residency is supported by Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation and Charles Wallace India Trust.

Photos artist’s own.