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Monica Shanta and Lucy

A few words about me

I was born and brought up in the North-East of England in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

I do not belong to a culturally defined box, a mixture of Indian, Sri Lankan, Portuguese, and British.

My degree was in Fine Art Painting at Wimbledon School of Art in London.

A few years later I did a PGCE in Art and Design at the Institute of Education, London. More recently I completed an MA in Contemporary Art Practice at Plymouth University. 

I have been a life model, a teacher, acting head of an art department, an arts faculty co-ordinator, a dancer, a mural painter, a ‘seco-fresco’ painter, a painters assistant, an arts development officer, a face painter, a school governor, an exhibitor, a curator, a gardener, among some other things, and most of all an artist. 

A few words about my work

My practice encompasses digital film, installation, drawing and performance.

I enjoy creative collaborations and surprise commissions. I make my own work, and sometimes I exhibit it. 

I work as a freelance visual artist, doing many projects in school and community environments, including work with DAISI (Devon Artists in Schools Initiative). 

My immediate experience is of the physical presence of life around me from within a human body.  Lived, sensory and physical, experiences are usually the starting points for my work. Through an intuitive co-creative process of dialogue with life, holding myself indiscriminately open to engagement with questions of embodiment, I seek experiential pathways to consider states of consciousness. I engage with universal human experiences; Eating, Breathing, ‘Death’…. as portals to metaphysical and ontological questions.

My work aims to transcend culturally confined definitions of ‘self’, exploring life and the experience of living, in a synthesis of cultural languages and meanings. A thread through my work is a striving to make visible the magic of life in what we may experience as the mundane, to make explicit the divine within the ‘ordinary’.

An aspect of my subject matter is visual language itself, its inherent cultural values, and the contexts upon which it depends. 

Traditional South Asian art depicts images of mythological tales, and uses symbolic pattern, to communicate the eternal divine. Contemporary western culture often elevates objects of mass production and consumerism to iconic status in reflection of an essentially transient popular culture. Traditionally Asian artists follow a selfless and rigorous discipline, transcending personal ego to achieve a union with a universal creative energy. Post-Renaissance Western art heralds the ‘Master’, with the contemporary art market harnessing the concept of unique authorship, to assign financial value in the service of Capitalism. 

My work builds bridges between these diametrically opposed concepts of what art is, and who artists are.

Monica Shanta on Vimeo 

Monica-Shanta on Youtube

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