When Gaayathri moved away from Tamil Nadu, India she chose to relocate to Corner Brook because it provided her with a lot of buffer space between her hometown of Chennai. Leaving a city of 7 million people, Gaayathri describes Newfoundland’s art scene as much more accessible and more closely knit.
Now in her third year of the Visual Arts, BFA at Grenfell the 21-year-old mixed media artist describes herself as, ‘I’m the type of person that cannot be in the same place for too long. I like travelling and I like having new experiences and meeting new people.”
Pre-pandemic, Gaayathri would take time to go back to Chennai in between semesters however it’s been over a year since she’s been able to see her friends and family back home, “even with permission to come back to Newfoundland, I might not be able to get back into the country [Canada] so my parents and I decided it’s best if I stay here for now.”
From March to September 2020, Gayaathri describes her first spring and summer season in Corner Brook as, “…the best summer of my life. Despite everything happening, I got to see so many things that I wouldn’t have had I not been here in the summer”. She spent her time camping, swimming outdoors and experiencing what she describes “a normal summer compared to the rest of the world”. This positive outlook and new experiences add up to Gaayathri turning to various mediums and themes of self-representation and social issues for inspiration.
However, she describes feeling demotivated to create art during the pandemic. By the time the winter semester concluded she felt the burnout and found it challenging to create art over the summer. Once the Fall 2020 semester commenced, she found the motivation to re-create her pandemic experience in a performance piece titled The Long Wait. “Now it’s really hard to make art not having the pandemic in mind.”
Her primary medium is painting but currently she’s having fun exploring photography and has her sights set on eventually moving to St. John’s where she feels there’s more opportunities for young international emerging artists. “However, that said if I did get a good art job in Corner Brook, I probably wouldn’t turn it down because I do love Corner Brook.”. She sees herself eventually applying for her Canadian PR, an MFA, and exploring some of Canada’s National Parks, “I really want to see a lot more of Canada…there’s so much to learn and so many experiences to gain that you probably won’t get if you’re staying the same place you’ve always been.”
So what’s next for Gaayathri? She has plans to attend the 12-week visual arts summer immersion program operated in Old Harlow, England with her peers from Grenfell. View Gaayathri’s performance piece, “The Long Wait”