Artist Talk: Sonali Menezes
The Hamilton-based multimedia artist sat down with the Silhouette to talk about her new residency with the Hamilton Arts Council, mangoes and the power of zines
Sonali Menezes laughed over the phone when she confessed that her dining room table had been doing double duty, operating as both her eating and studio space. The Hamilton-based multimedia artist and creator of award-winning zine, “Depression Cooking,” had never had a studio of her own, due to the hefty price tag of her undergraduate degree. That all changed though when Menezes was chosen as Hamilton Arts Council’s newest Artist in Residence. The Artist in Residence program provides free studio space, among many other forms of support for artists.
“Having access to the studio space through this residency is really amazing because it actually allows me to have a dedicated workspace,” she said.
The studio also helped Menezes in building her latest exhibition, “Queen of the Fruit," at the Tangled Art Gallery. She used the provided studio space to build various sculptures for the gallery’s display cases. According to Menezes, the exhibition is a mixed media project dedicated to the mango and its culinary prominence within many Indian households. Painting, sculpture and audiovisual installations are present throughout the entire exhibition.
Though she experiments with many mediums throughout her work, Menezes takes a particular liking to zines, even describing them as her “first love.” When asked why, the artist explained her fondness comes from the unconventionality of the format itself.
“The reason I like zines so much is because they take artwork off the white wall of galleries and just put it directly into working people’s hands. They’re an accessible art medium,” she said.
She hoped to continue this practice through her own work, going against the highly secluded and privatized culture of the art world as explained by Menezes, and instead making art an experience to be enjoyed by everyone.
Sonali Menezes will be creating in the Hamilton Arts Council’s and The Cotton Factory's residency studio from November 2023 to April 2024. To learn more about Sonali and her work, visit her website here.