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Shivy Galtere on finding identity in an artful past
Where Are You Frøm?

Shivy Galtere on finding identity in an artful past

Let's step into the vibrant world of Shivy (@shivy.studio), a British-Asian artist with Punjabi and Malaysian roots, now making art in Los Angeles California where she resides with her family. Our visit to Shivy's studio opened up a fascinating conversation about her personal and artistic evolution, and how ‘where she’s from’ influences her work with healing, reflection, and meaning.

“Growing up, art was my identity. That's what I was known for, and I was really good at it. And then I went to university, and I studied history of art, instead of art. And I just lost my creative flair. I completely shifted from that identity, which was all I knew as a kid. I got immersed in studies, the culture of university, and then found myself doing a master's in fashion and finding a career in fashion.

It wasn't until my mother passed away that I picked [art] up again. I started painting again as a form of therapy. It's always been a very visceral process. It's whatever feels good, very much about what I feel in the moment, that's always led my art. 

But naturally, I have always ended up painting women, but it was never really a purposeful thing, it kind of just happened like that. Even as a teenager, I used to do life drawing. And I think that's how I kind of got into it. And I just remember thinking, aesthetically, women's bodies are just very beautiful. But also to draw, again, kind of harking back that visceral feeling, just like the curvature of a woman's body is very, very satisfying to draw. There's so much curvature and the positions and life drawing that these models created kind of like finding that on the paper was always really, I really enjoyed it. And I really thrived in life drawing.

Being British, and being Asian— South Asian, has really defined my life and culturally who I am. I come from a community where you were taught to be modest and cover up. But, I grew up in London and we were in Spain every summer lying on a beach where many women topless. It was very much this juxtaposition. It's been very interesting for me to explore nudity, and women's bodies. I think that [experience] really did kind of have an effect on why I'm almost processing that through my art

I always want to speak to my culture in some regard, I just feel that that's really important. Because growing up, I didn't see [that], especially in more contemporary art. I wasn't exposed to many South Asian contemporary artists growing up. And so, that's always been very important for me to include. I think there's a confidence of painting a brown body, the confidence to do that, whether it's me or someone else, saying that this is beautiful. I think that's always been an underlying theme as well. There's three [large] canvases and it was just the body against the plain white background. That was very intentional in the sense that I just wanted to paint my brown body. That was literally all I wanted to do. I didn't want to say anything, I just wanted it to be that, unapologetically, not sexualized, just there, illustrated, no story behind it. I just wanted that visual, this is it. I think since then my work has evolved. I started off with a very minimal kind of outline work. And then I kind of just got deeper into it.

I think I've become more comfortable and confident labeling myself as an artist. Funnily enough, I think that comes before being a mother, being a wife, I'm always gonna be those other labels and I'm so happy to be, but I think when I'm thinking about my personal identity I think artist speaks more true to me.



"Where are you from?" is a series exploring identity, belonging, and claiming where you are from on your own terms. ⁠It is a charged question with no straightforward answer. We are a mixture of experiences and identities. Rich, vibrant, complex, and multidimensional. ⁠

⁠#WRUFseries #whereareyoufrom⁠ #theother #belonging⁠

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