Having called the vibrant and populous cities of Mumbai and Pune home, Janaki Lele witnessed closely the ingenious utilisation of ever-scarce resources to their fullest potential. The vast openness of her current home gives her the freedom to wander inside her own mind and nurture her imagination. The humble paper, thus, is an obvious choice of material for this self-confessed, obsessive recycler.
Paper exhibits a duplicity of fragility and flexibility which is why Janaki works with two distinct techniques. She employs the traditional papier mache technique to explore the myriad textures and forms of the animal kingdom in her sculptures. They are finished with pages from books which, imparts a dreamy character to the animals. On the other hand, she hand cuts sheets of paper into in an intricate and often layered investigation of her surrounds and the human mind.
Lele was born in India, studied to be an Architect, taught herself to be a Visual Artist and is an avid traveller. She has exhibited at some reputable venues in Sydney, before recently moving to Adelaide. Her art has been held in several private collections in Australia and India. In 2014 she had an installation of her paper sculptures along the beloved Bondi coast for Sculpture by the Sea.
"I think that the ideal space must contain elements of magic, serenity, sorcery and mystery." - Architect Luis Barragan
It is the achieving of this ideal space mentally that fuels all my work. The ability to lose myself and find myself is imparted to me by the process of creation. Careful cutting of paper allows me to decelerate, meditate and find myself. But it is the prior task of drawing that challenges the mind to break through the rigidity of everyday and lose itself gallantly in the freer, mystical, magical side.
I hand cut sheets of paper into intricate observations of my surroundings and more recently of my own mind. Generally I prefer to work in layers. Texture also finds a place in my work, which often results in providing a third dimension. Influences from architecture, trees, colours, and the human mind imbue my work. Inspirations have also struck on my travels, upon being moved by a book and tribal paintings.
My recent work delves into the human mind, imagining it to be a constantly changing space, where the architecture, scenarios and activities are representative of its state of being. The final piece is often intricately detailed with a touch of the whimsy. Generally, this necessitates and therefore allows the viewer to slow down from a hurried glance to an elaborate inspection in which new details come to attention.