Priya Kambli, "Purple", from "Suitcase" series, 2003, mixed media (photograph, baby rattle, & purple silk), 19x29x5½”

Priya Kambli, “Purple”, from “Suitcase” series, 2003, mixed media (photograph, baby rattle, & purple silk), 19x29x5½”

Priya Kambli

My work has constantly dealt with issues of journey and memory. I integrate traditional photography with digital media, as well as elements of mixed media and Installation. 

When I moved to America in 1993, I crammed 18 years of my life into one suitcase. It weighed approximately 45 kg. It wasn’t until recently that I started thinking about the objects I chose to bring and their selection process. The objects were chosen for their magnetic ability of attracting and repelling memories. The status of these chosen objects increased substantially to the level of sacred relics for having being touched or given by a loved one. These souvenirs contain within them the ability to vividly conjure memories of the past. Distilling ones life to fit the finite parameters of a suitcase meant editing – the inevitability of certain memories being discarded, while others attain a new significance. It further implied simplification of one’s past – untangling the chaotic web so that a clear succinct pattern emerged. 

In the Suitcases series I am interested in juxtaposing snippets of information that interact with each other to convey an open ended narration. The essence of the Suitcases series is the dialogue created by the pairing of fragments. The items contained within the suitcases are sticky with associations and often pertain to travel. Each case deals with a separate theme and corresponds to a specific hue. Color is the origin of each piece, giving each suitcase its individual personality and focus by dictating the objects it contains and their relationships. Even though the suitcases are self contained and conceived to function independently, they all share many physical and conceptual characteristics.

Priya Kambli was born and lived in India before emigrating to the US in 1993. She earned her MFA from the University of Houston, TX and currently teaches in the Art department at Truman StateUniversity in Missouri . Her work has been featured in exhibitions at the University of North Texas in Dallas, the Houston Center for Photography, the Photographic Resource Center in Boston, the Photographic Center Northwest Gallery in Seattle, Texas Photographic Society in San Antonio, San Francisco Camerawork, Southeast Museum of Photography in Daytona Beach, and Woman Made Gallery in Chicago. More of Kambli’s Suitcases are on display now in CPW’s traveling exhibition, Foreign Affair, currently at the Albany International Airport Art and Culture Program. Kambli has received grants from the Houston Center for Photography and the Salina Art Center .