Tuda Muda

Tuda Muda

Tuda Muda

New Delhi, India

Trondheim, Norway

MFA in Fine Art, Kunstakademiet i Trondheim, NO
BFA in Printmaking, College of Art, New Delhi, IN

What is your expression?
I love moving between mediums and I don’t have a fixed style. Previously I have worked with drawing, video & Installation art but I see myself moving towards sculpture.

What inspires you?
At first “anger” inspired me, its existence, causes, symptoms, consequences and so forth and I did this by mapping its presence in my life and creating works based on that personal experience. Because our personal experiences are a result of the culture, we grew up in, so, then I went after the culture and how it molds the mind to think, feel and behave a certain way. I made works about that. And then I went after myself, how I see myself in this culture? How I chose to respond to it? Do I agree or disagree with it? What I like and dislike about it and what I want to change in it? Then I made works about that. While doing all this I realized that I am doing something important and so I continue to do it.

How would you describe your art?
I would describe my art as a shared experience. Meaning, I use my own experiences as a starting point, only to invite and include others with similar experiences. I work with themes of loss, trauma, perseverance, and resilience but also ease, joy and hope. I create these works as means of discovery and manifesting breakthroughs which can be for an individual or a collective. I do this by playing the role of the narrator/protagonist/performer/storyteller in a video/drawing/installation/sculptural format. For example :

A body of work that was inspired by anger was “I do. Do i?” (2019, Charcoal drawings on paper) becoming a starting point of realizing the conditions I had put forth for loving myself and the external influences determining those conditions. The drawings are of my own body exaggerated, twisted, and manipulated just enough to make me question, “is this what it takes to be loved?”. Often confusing external validation, looking beautiful, and being likable as a way of being loved, “I do. Do I?” brings forth the burden of beauty, it’s inevitable attachment and the conditions of being an acceptable woman. This work led me to do my 1st solo show with Standard (Oslo) and later the same works were acquired by the Nasjonalmuseet of Norway. “KISS MY ASS”, (2020) is one of the large-scale, site-specific installations I did with a size of 279 x 444 cm (9ft x 14 ft) of a 600-resolution scan of my butt printed on glossy paper and pasted in the gallery window Art Academy directed outwards to the street & (society). My butt was hanging heavy in one of the busiest streets of Trondheim, Solsiden and later in Stockholm at Sergel’s Torg as a self-explanatory work and an extension of anger inspiration but directed outwards instead of inwards.

A complicated work of Anger was “BLINK” (2022), a large scale installation, based on the difficult subjects of rape culture, sexual harassment, sexual abuse, and first/second-hand trauma from the same. The motivation has been my own experiences that I witnessed growing up. Using these experiences as material, I developed an Installation consisting of 234,5 cm x 461,4 cm charcoal drawing of a woman who comes to life when the video footage collected in New Delhi and an in-house animation is projected on top of the drawing. “BLINK” is a revenge fantasy and a work of catharsis, for anyone who has experienced sexual harassment or abuse while commuting. I understand that this is not «my» story, but a story of many women, making this work an opportunity for solidarity and a platform for anger as a natural response to provocation to safety. Producing this work has been the most challenging work I have done till this date, and this work premiered in 2022 during Trondheim Open with funding support from NBK & Kulturådet.

(You can view this work on Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/tudamuda, other works can be seen, on Instagram @samrridhik and @tuda_muda)

Why did you end up living in Trondheim?
Life has a crazy way of working out for you, when you decide that “it” is something you want.
I first discovered Norway in 2017 when I was living in New Delhi, India because of a singer/musician “Aurora” who was hosting a podcast and began to share the influences that had contributed to her Music, and she credited her upbringing to Nature in Norway. Listening to her talk about life and music, Norway began to resemble another home away from home. And her song “Runaway”, resonated with what I was feeling at the time, where I didn’t feel like I was home, even though I was born and brought up in Delhi. I wanted to literally runaway and find a place where I belonged and where I could be my authentic self. And her music was on point with so many things I was feeling and wanted to experience. One of things that I wanted for myself, to study abroad, and to witness the world outside my bubble and I began to investigate the Art schools available in Norway.

So, in a bizarre turn of events, I decided to leave everything I had identified as “my life” and moved halfway across the world to Norway, to Trondheim to pursue a master’s in fine art from Kunstakademiet i Trondheim in 2019! It has been one of the best decisions I have made for myself and thanks to the distance, I have better understanding of my own upbringing, country, and the culture. So, now I have 2 homes, Norway and India, and I have never felt better 😊.

I ended up staying back in Trondheim after my graduation (2021) because I was invited by the curator/artist duo, Rhea Dall and Elmgreen & Dragset to be a part of the inaugural exhibition of K-U-K, followed by a group show with Standard (Oslo), which was then followed by preparing for my 1st solo show held at Standard (Oslo) in 2022! Because of these amazing invitations I had to set up a studio as soon as possible and I found Atelier Ilsvika, where I have had my studio since 2021.

What do you like about the artscene and the town?
I like Trondheim for its intimate environment. The city does not swallow you, but you float in it. I don’t even live in the city but on its outskirts because I like the distance. I am still discovering Trondheim a bit by bit via walking, riding, kayaking, swimming and so on. I like that the city inhabits so many artists across discipline and that there is always something happening. I do wonder if we take that for granted.

I do love where my studio is based out off (Atelier Ilsvika) where I am surrounded by positive and warm creative professionals. I admire Trondheim Kommune and Trøndelag Fylkeskommune, for their various provisions to support Artists of all kinds as it has proved to be very beneficial for a lot of artists including myself.

The Trondheim Art scene has this familiarity of an artist community moving from the inside of the art academy to the outside of the academy. That can be very helpful in transitioning from a student life to a professional one. The familiarity is nice as you show up in support of each other. But in that sense the art scene also becomes somewhat of a bubble, and due to that safety of a bubble, you forget to take risks or leave the city all together for the possibility of new growth.

What could be better in the local artscene?
I am most worried about not seeing student artists from Non-EU/EEA countries in the coming future in this side of the world. With the new fee’s structure, an international student can be expected to pay up to 500,000 kr for an art education which even a Norwegian student cannot afford. It’s a disaster and now, this missing economy will have a direct impact on the functioning of the Art Academies. So, it’s a social, creative, cultural and an economical disaster.

I was disappointed to see the lack of attendance by the local artists joining the protests and being vocal about this issue as an artist community that thrives on being influenced from each other. I think we can be better at showing up for each other. Perhaps their absence highlights something darker in the local art scene that I am not willing to accept but would like to change.

Inclusivity & curatorial dissemination can be better in the Trondheim. I find local organizations struggling to acknowledge that. Trondheim has tons of Artists, but we lack a roster of good and creative curators, I hope we see that changing as well.

What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on “APPARITION IN THE WOODS” a project that observes and shares the discovery of a mutant in the woods. This mutant is a Half rock-half human, spotted in a forest sitting on the edge of a cliff. Through a short story and series of drawings in natural pigments and red acrylic ink, we see the story of this human turned mutant and its vulnerabilities.

This mutation experienced by this human, is a physical illness caused by trauma, emotional captivity, or emotional depravity. The mutation is identified as a rock like formation growing and consuming the human body, weighing it down. Through this metaphorical mutation I explore the possibility of health conditions being a symptom of emotional sickness, that restrict us from living our life in best capacities.

The project is also inspired by the loss of my father to cancer and the possibility of the cancer being a symptom of a larger internal conflict instead of it being a purely physical diagnosis. I wonder if his emotional health led to his physical deterioration. And what could have been the possible factors influencing his emotional sickness? However, the work uses this loss as a conversation starter about our immediate environment and its intolerance towards vulnerability that pushes individuals into the deep end to live this “ideal” life based on gender norms, societal expectations, a good boy/good girl culture.

What are your ambitions and plans for the future?
My dream is to create a sculpture park as amazing as the Vigelandsparken (my favorite sculpture park which moved me the first time I saw it, and the 2nd time) So in the coming month, I am traveling to Italy to learn about marble sculptures and to receive the physical training of building marble sculptures. It’s a good step towards this vision, and I am sure I’ll make this happen with great ease, joy and glory.

Who of your colleagues deserves more attention?
My colleague, Yinlin Kong is a young visual artist from China based in Trondheim. She makes these amazing paintings with Penguin protagonists in different series of works where she examines the impact of climate change on the species of Antarctica. Her work evokes sympathy for these penguins who seem to be isolated and are taking each day as it comes to survive. There is just something special about what she’s doing, and I really like it. Sometimes I feel she is the penguin in her works. If you want to see her work, just write to her on Instagram, @silverkq .