SARAH AHMAD | 27 APRIL, 2016
East Side Story
We’re dreamers, scammers, screamers, callous in our steps, dreamy in our eyes, fallen in matters of the heart; we’re people, players, schemers. Like them, they have a story, of perils and cries, stories about dark dim dreams, dry sand pits, gigantic fire hoses, about cities on rugged mounds, charcoal powdered buildings, stories of loneliness, of eccentricities, poets and lovers, of struggles, revolting spirits and countless careless musings. From one such story to another, from a city of colour and chaos to a city that never sleeps, she travelled, carrying with her anecdotes from the East.
This is a story of a girl, who had left the comfort of her home in New Delhi, India on one hot summer day, to study and experience life in the suburbs of New York City. Comical, satirical, ironical and most importantly, truthful, life experiences have a lot to offer. Realizing that it’s time to introspect herself, Smrita Jain, a Graphic Designer, an Eclectic Artist, Gallerist and Author, pens down her experiences coming from India and her struggles in New York in her eight years as a resident of the city, in her second book, Fat Free Samosa, an autobiography.
Smrita Jain in her book talks about the issues of fat shaming, bullying and marriage and her take on the same, the samosa representing a person’s mind inflated with social filth. She writes about how racism, sexism, discrimination based on class and caste, and body shaming are social evils which fill up our minds with fat and grime. The book becomes her story about her life talking about growing up in a conservative environment in India and moving to New York, which also had its challenges, a city which changed her perspective towards life and its nuances.
The release of the book precedes an Exhibition, which is a visual introduction to the Book, where Smrita has used hand drawn graffiti and photographs to describe the best moments of her life and the struggles she has faced, in a fun and satirical way. Samosa represents the Indian culture in its purest form, the three sides symbolising – mind, body and soul, all facets of a human being, which should be fat free. She uses crowded public spaces to define her work and thoughts, often talking about big cities, urbanscapes and loneliness among populous environs.
From a trained Designer, to a Gallerist and lead artist at Surmrit Gallery Of Art & Design, New York, and now an Author of two books- Creating Durga and Fat Free Samosa, Smrita Jain has successfully built a creative arts career in a distant land, representing an ethnicity that often rides along traditional and conservative boundaries and leaves very little to paint outside the lines. Moving away from societal expectations, as a student, a wanderer or an immigrant, one finds freedom beyond the expected.
Like many who find their abode in the big concrete jungle of New York, and often get lost in the crowd, a few others find their voice in this city of dreamers and doers, Smrita is one such creative wanderer, a New Yorker, finding and cultivating her passion for art by curating art exhibitions for her gallery, collecting parts of her daily life in a diary, through photographs, snippets, patterns and eclectic sketches.
Open minds and spaces are giving way to unplanned adventures, utopian thoughts and burnished blue skies, a flutter of clouds on Alpine domes, from crowded city spaces to edifices, among uncharted territories of terra, turf and intoxicants, to intense climbs of the heart; of grit, of life and longing, of exploits among the unfamiliar.