Hormazd Narielwalla (b.1979, Mumbai) is a London-based artist who primarily works in the medium of collage. His practice also compasses original prints, artist books, and sculpture. He was first inspired when studying a Masters in Fashion Communications at the University of Westminster (2006). He met a Savile Row Tailor, who described the shredding of bespoke paper tailoring patterns of customers who have died. The idea of something so personal and detailed yet ghostly and impermanent led Narielwalla to retrieve a set of patterns, which inspired his first book – Dead Man’s Patterns (2008). The first edition was only 100, and collections like the National Art Library, the British Library, and the libraries of the Courtauld Collection acquired copies. 25 other institutions around the UK acquired the artist book for their Special Collections.
The artistic and cultural context of the book attracted the attention of Sir Paul Smith who offered Narielwalla his first solo show (2009). Thereafter Narielwalla was awarded a complete scholarship to embark on a PhD at the University of Arts, London, which he successfully completed in 2014. Since gaining his Doctorate, Narielwalla has built his practice around the extensive use of found materials, namely Saville Row and antique tailoring patterns from Europe which together have created a unique archive which explores ideas around the body and the way we choose to formally clothe it. In 2014 Saatchi Art awarded Narielwalla its annual Showdown Art Prize, which led to his work being acquired by international private collectors.
Since Narielwalla’s first Solo Show, Study on Anansi, exhibited by Sir Paul Smith, he has attracted both critical acclaim and significant profile in the academic and commercial art world alike. His work has been commissioned by the Crafts Council for their national touring exhibit Block Party (2011) and was one of 11 artists to exhibit at the project space at Collect 13 at the Saatchi Gallery (2013). In 2016 the artist worked on a series titled Lost Gardens, an exploration of the notions of culture and migration, commissioned and exhibited in the summer months by the Southbank Centre. In the autumn of that year Narielwalla won the Paupers Press Prize at the International Print Biennial in Newcastle, UK, resulting in a new commission to be shown at the Royal Academy of Arts London in April 2017. The artist exhibits regularly in London, and has shown work in Melbourne, Stockholm and Athens, and several art fairs across the US. The artist has also gained a network of private collectors in Sao Paulo.
In 2018 The Victoria & Albert Museum commissioned 4 artworks based on the artist’s personal hero – Frida Kahlo, for their blockbuster summer show. Other commissions include Centre of Possible Studies – Serpentine Gallery; Beams Tokyo; Artbelow; Jigsaw; Tiger of Sweden, Aby Hotel Gothenburg, Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill and The Kensington Hotel to name a few. Narielwalla’s work is held in public and private collections worldwide, including the Victoria & Albert Museum, The Ben Uri Museum Collection, the British Library; the National Art Library, the INIVA Collection; Fashion Institute of Technology, New York; and Parsons School of Art & Design, New York.
Narielwalla’s work has also been extensively published. He authored the biography of Master Tailor Michael Skinner, The Savile Row Cutter (Benefactum, 2011). In 2018 co-publishers Sylph Editions and Concentric Editions published Paper Dolls a series of abstract works and figurative self-portraits accompanied by a poem Narielwalla wrote for the book. During his career he has also released several artist books – Study on Anansi (2014), Lost Gardens (2016), and Hungarian Peacocks (2017).
Narielwalla’s has also received recognition in international press in magazines and art journals such as Luxure Magazine (2015), Guardian (2016), The World of Interiors Magazine (2017), and was published on the cover of Emirates Magazine. Christies Magazine (September 2018) profiled Narielwalla as one of four Indian artists to watch.
Narielwalla’s artworks propose a new interpretation of tailoring patterns as abstracted drawings of the human form. Freed from function they are drawings ahead of their time, anthropomorphic in origin and beautifully abstract in isolation.