Scottsdale Public Art and local artist Shachi Kale unveil a new exhibition, “Before Ever After: My American Fairytale,” on June 3 at the Appaloosa Library in Scottsdale.
The series of paintings addresses the artist’s journey after marriage, from Mumbai, India, to Chandler, Arizona, through the lens of fairytales — the lonely and difficult parts before the princess gets her “ever after.” These rich watercolors have the detailed allegorical feel of Indian miniature art, with a modern twist.
Kale described the exhibition as autobiographical in nature as she tells her heroine’s journey: fighting her fears, dealing with loneliness and a loss of identity as she learns to negotiate a new life in Arizona. From learning to drive to raising her two boys far away from her own parents and extended family, Kale’s story is presented as a modern fairytale with all the classic elements of dragons, forests and fairy godmothers.
“It is both so personal and also at the same time universal, so it felt fitting to show it through the lens of fairytales, where one can identify with the princess who has a difficult, if ultimately satisfying, journey towards her ever after,” Kale says.
Kale says her immigration tale does not have the same themes of escape, hardship or desperation found in the stories of others who have left their homelands, yet she has still faced struggles within that transition. This exhibition illuminates a quieter, often untold struggle of isolation and despair that might be hidden behind the walls of a lovely home.
“I wanted to tell that story, if by telling it I could say to anyone who is there or has been there that you are not alone,” she says. “My art is introspective, and I hope that by expressing my thoughts, my hopes, my fears and my journey I am able to reach out an invisible to hand to someone who needs to see or hear this,” Kale says.
At the center of the exhibition is a message of home and community, where individuals become “fairy godmothers” as they reach out in kindness and make a profound impact on the lives of others. Additionally, Kale’s depictions of the female form are both autobiographical and universal to women grappling with their place in the world.
Wendy Raisanen, Scottsdale Public Art curator of collections and exhibitions, was taken with the colorful, intricate and clear design sense in Kale’s paintings. “She demonstrates with her artwork the importance of telling one’s own story, knowing that many others might see themselves in it and become comforted and understood,” Raisanen says.
Kale is a visual storyteller, graphic designer and children’s book illustrator, using watercolors, acrylics, embroidery and digital arts. She is fascinated by folk art from around the world and the use of flat colors, simple perspective and storytelling that they employ. Kale is also influenced by Indian miniature art and their use of patterns, decorative elements, motifs and vibrant color.
Kale trained as a graphic designer at a leading design institute in her native Mumbai. After starting a career in advertising, she soon opened her own design studio. Following her move to the United States in 2001, Kale began working as a designer for the Maricopa Community College District and illustrating children’s books. Her art was recently selected to be used on all printed and commemorative materials for the 2019 Governor’s Arts Awards.
“Before Ever After: My American Fairytale” is Kale’s second solo exhibition. A opening reception will be held June 6, at the Appaloosa Library.
Before Ever After: My American Fairytale by Shachi Kale
June 3 – Aug. 30
Opening reception, June 6, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Appaloosa Library, 7377 E. Silverstone Drive, Scottsdale
For more information about the exhibition, visit scottsdalepublicart.org.
For more information about the artist, visit ShachiKale.com or follow her on Instagram: @shachidreams.