Sir Denis Mahon Award Exhibition 2016 - Rosie Vohra, To Prepare a Face

March 17, 2016

The Sir Denis Mahon prize of £5,000 is awarded to an outgoing Drawing Year student each year to enable them to continue their practice as an artist, and as part of this award they are also offered a solo exhibition. Rosie Vohra studied on the Royal Drawing School's postgraduate programme, The Drawing Year in 2014-15. She is the recipient of the Sir Denis Mahon Award 2015-16. In the account that follows, Rosie Vohra shares her experiences on a 6-week trip to India funded by the Award, and reflects on the ways in which it enriched her practice. 

 One Fine Day in the Middle of the Night by Rosie Vohra

The Sir Denis Mahon Award has given me a precious sense of freedom this year. I have been able to spend the majority of my days developing my practice through drawing, painting and sculpture.

The main subject of my work involves drawing from the conjoined elements of my imagination and observation and how it allows me to create my own world that is deeply routed to reality, yet significantly altered. 

The Pause of a Sentence, Rosie Vohra                                                            A Pause in a Sentence by Rosie Vohra                                                  

I will often draw from observation and adjust scenes with reoccurring characters, Indian mythology, pattern and colour. I start on one path with a piece of work and tend to go down lots of different roads on an unexpected journey which have led to embroidered wall hangings, large-scale drawings and paintings on objects. 

To be working towards an exhibition at the end of the year has been a really valuable experience. I have seen what I have learnt on the drawing year merge solidly with my practice and I’m really looking forward to showing this at the exhibition in April. The award also enabled me to fund a 6-week trip to India; here are some words and drawings that took place there:

From Rosie Vohra's India Sketchbook Drawing from Rosie Vohra's India sketchbook

Greeted by a red sun,

Honest Eyes,

Moustache-made children,

Dreadlocked tree trunks,

Orange beaks with green wings, blue tails as well.

Different hands from different minds making the same sound,

Pink clouds making the ocean look like hippos milk,

Flies flying around lamps like lost stars before dawn,

Stairs for stairs with shadows,

A Valley of screaming heads

Watching the Cloud’s stretch marks,

Even the cracks in the windows are painted yellow.

Seeing Indian Miniatures come to life,

This seeing without seeing, where your eyes are open waiting for the light and catching nothing but black.

Hampi                    Hampi by Rosie Vohra

The Sir Denis Mahon Award Exhibition 2016 - Rosie Vohra: To Prepare a Face, opens 18th - 29th April 2016 at the Royal Drawing School Shoreditch.