Located in CL 426, the Faculty of Arts corridor, opposite CL 426 (Classroom Building 4th Floor)
Let me be more, 2014
Oil on canvas
48″ x 60″
University of Regina President’s Art Collection; pc.2015.25
Madhu Kumar uses her own experience to explore the lives of other immigrant women. Through her relationship with the Regina Immigrant Women Centre, she is able to meet with women new to Canada within their homes, where she records their stories with interviews and photographic documentation. Her ability to identify and empathise with both the joyful and challenging aspects of their new lives has allowed her to capture their portraits in a series of paintings that sensitively reveal something of their personal histories. Kumar notes that, “the paintings help promote dialogue about being new to Canada. I want to offer a glimpse into the life of an immigrant woman during this challenging time. Some show despair; others are more hopeful; while some are more settled.”
In perhaps one of the most poignant images of the series, Let me be more (2014) offers a non-traditional portrait of its sitter, whose presence is felt only in the scant belongings in her oppressively empty apartment; a rug, a laptop, and a child’s toy reflected in the mirror. Recording a time in the sitter’s life where she was healing from an abusive relationship, postpartum depression and a custody struggle, Kumar notes that the telling of this story proved to be a cathartic experience for the painting’s subject.
Madhu Kumar is a Regina-based artist who was born and raised in India, emigrating to Canada in 2001. Her work is held in private collections throughout India, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada.