Tracy Leena Soreng is an artist and a textile designer. She was born in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh in India, and belongs to an ‘Kharia’ indigenous community. From the time she learnt to hold a pencil, she has been drawing. She pursued her talent by entering National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, studying Textiles, where she got interested in printed textiles. She worked in the fashion retail industry as textile designer. After which she decided to go for MA in Textiles for Fashion from Manchester Metropolitan University, UK, where she realised that her core speaks to be an artist. After returning back to India, she worked with an Indian fashion export house designing scarves for the European market. She wanted to do something more meaningful, which led to leaving the job, and hustling between freelance and self exploration as an artist.
Studying in the UK was a major turning point in her career, where she learnt and practiced how to think beyond what was taught earlier; in aspects of her origin, social, cultural and a feminist point of view. She is in her exploring stage of understanding to communicate her experiences through visual and tactile form. She is exploring the translation of her: belongingness, relationships, upbringing, education and feminism into a unique form of art.
My work is an amalgamation of my love for nature, drawing and creating prints as a textile designer. I often go back and forth from hand drawing to digital drawings to keep in touch with both mediums. However, my present indulgence in digital illustrations still carries the raw feel of a hand drawing. My illustrations often demonstrate human figures placed against a pattern that one could imagine in a dress they would wear, pictured into a textile piece of illustration.
I am practising learn-unlearn-relearn through what was taught earlier and what makes more sense now. My art explores of self discovery, emancipation as a woman, full of emotions and sensitivity. I want my work to evoke a sensorial and immersive experience, to bring one close to verisimilitude, by transporting them in what they are seeing, and what it could actually mean, open to many interpretations.
My latest series of ‘gaze’ is an exploration of emotions as colours, which changes with seasons of life. It is also a personal journey of my mood changes over the course of pandemic, channelising my senses into fragments of my imagination, yet trying to be grounded to the reality.
What does “Gaze” mean to you & how do you connect it to your work?
A gaze can either make you feel validated or it can make you feel uncomfortable. Coming from India, there are several setbacks to being a woman. This series of illustrations is a ‘gaze back’ to the society who looks at women; to teach them to behave in a certain way, to be docile, to do whatever is told and not have a mind of their own. However, the portraits in my work are in their most feminine form, like the colour of their skin is depicted, having a calmness in them, vulnerable, resilient to the society standards, still confronting them with a gathered courage. They are shy, yet learning confidence to gaze back at the society. They are ambitious, spiritually intense and have a charm that one can’t deny.
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