Joya Mukerjee Logue // Haati Chai Muse
Joya Logue is an artist currently based in the United States. Her watercolor paintings share a warm story of her own heritage, home and cultural identity. We catch up with Joya about her memories of India, the meaning of heirlooms and her own sentimental lure towards simplicity.
I’m Joya :)
I’m an artist, predominantly in a watercolor practice, drawing inspiration from my mixed culture heritage. My dad is from India, my mom American, and I was born and raised in the U.S. Yearly travels to our ancestral home in India, named Rajo Villa, created a visual and memorable connection to my heritage. I am drawn to an earthen palette and a soft, minimal, fluid stroke. I love the beauty in the everyday. My paintings are a reflection of this, and often depict people and places in a simple form that elicit emotion and nostalgia.
I’m also a mother to three boys, ages 17, 15 and 9.
A few years ago, in the beginning of my art journey, I decided to let go of my expectations to paint or create art universally accepted in America. The idea of sharing online had exploded and it felt very natural to go along with the trends and aesthetics. Yet my unique perspective as a Bengali-American woman was left unfulfilled.
My memories of visits to India played like a repeat track of a favorite song; images splashed in front of me, and the taste or smell of something would stop me in my tracks and transport me to a walk in the bazar or to familiar street sounds.
I surrendered to my strong feelings to paint what was closest to my innermost soul, regardless of the narrowing scope of my subject. I needed to express my mixed heritage, explore my roots, and give a voice to the longing I had for this connection. India is a part of me that has always felt both intimate and far away, and I constantly grasp for its intimacy.
After my grandmother passed away, I was given some of her heirloom handwoven saris, featuring zari embroidery, and a shawl. She wore them beautifully her entire life and in the early years she was a fashion icon, draped in the most elegant Varanasi brocade or silk organza saris. Later, as a mature woman, she wore a classic Bengali cotton sari and white blouse most days, with a shawl wrapped around her. It is the simple cotton sari and wool shawl that are most meaningful to me. They mirror her spirit- classic and beautiful with a quiet strength.
I draw inspiration from this part of my material heritage and have begun to wear a sari here in America, even casually, my favorite being a simple silk or mulmul cotton sari. I experiment with drape and as a result feel more comfortable continuing this tradition. To me, the sari has become more than a physical symbol of beauty. It is a connection to my history, to strong women, to the hands who craft it and to those who share the same affection.