Ketna patel


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Mixed Media Artist
35 Jalan Puteh Jerneh, Singapore 278063

Tel: +(65) 6479 3736, Mobile: +(65) 9735 0901, Fax: +(65) 6475 5646



Nobody denies the diversity and richness of historical Asian art – but what of the contemporary? Casual browsing at the bulk of modern Asian Art might lead many people to think that many Asian artists are playing a game of “catch up” with their western counter parts.

It would seem that for so long we’ve been almost happily sedated with the refined brushstrokes that define classical Asian imagery, the delicate floral arrangements, hauntingly beautiful scenery and depictions of culturally diverse humans, serenely going about their business. This is the Asia, which sits well with an almost official version and within unspoken imposed colonial barriers. While Western artists have pushed the extremes and attempted to make people think – the Asian artist concentrates on perfecting the almost microscopic detail of a lotus petal – and yes, this is probably an unfair stereotyped generalization – but perhaps an undeniable one, as far as stereotyped generalizations go.

The fact is that developments throughout Asia are a stream of surprises as far as their imagery is concerned. Whist the “West” appears to be increasingly homologous, Asia is becoming increasingly diverse - and the classical “Western” influence of modernity is no longer the only dominant force for the future. Singapore is a perfect example as it continues its trajectory of a “Western styled” hub of efficiency, but the “West” is no longer the only strong influence. India and China are fast becoming economic super powers and they are exerting their unique influence. Parts of the so called “third world” are becoming rich and powerful. Peoples who followed are now beginning to lead. And socially agile countries like Singapore reflect this more than most; after all, here is a country that has historically managed to harmonize profound racial boundaries, and it will probably be here where we will see the most profound evidence of increasingly robust expression from an increasingly outgoing Asia.
The demand for new art by Asians themselves, is a new driving force in the art market. And they will want what is authentically modern, fresh and new and it just so happens that it’s them! And while many believe that wealth and power are at odds with pure artistic expression – every renaissance had to get funding. We are seeing new money for new art, which will lead Asian artists to push themselves into new techniques, new ideas and to develop new levels of innovation and inspiration. In the future, when we look back, this period of artistic expression will be recorded as a new beginning of Asian art in terms of experimentation and reflection – and not just an attempt to “catch up”.

Rising above the bland abstracts and the stereotypical Asian themed art/décor for export, is a spontaneous art movement; a new generation of young Asian artists that are drawing upon the diverse imagery of their culture and morphing it into loud and punchy images that demand attention. And it would appear refreshingly clear, that their objective is not just to do something “modern”, but to reflect and express an Asia that is undergoing radical social magnification. One such body of work is that produced by the award winning Ketna Patel. Ketna is a well travelled African born, western educated Indian, who resides in Singapore. “I’m like so many Asians”, she says “happily culturally schizophrenic, yet deeply grounded in an evolving Asian culture”.

Ketna goes on to say “artists have a responsibility to reflect and project the changing society they live in”. And for Ketna, this translates into powerful Asian images recently transmuted through pop art. And the results provoke the senses. Diverse religious icons, the extremes of real life and the rigid chaos of the Asian social landscape are extruded through loud and proud electric colors – that almost makes it advertising or perhaps artvertising, “I try to compress an illustrious past, a changing present and a rapidly unfolding future, so the observer gets multiple messages” explains Ketna, “in a few seconds they have to get the message – this is Asia, this is what I see”.

Written by Christopher Drake; Art Critic based in Bangkok

The above article was published in the Singapore Gallery Guide in June 2005

(Ketna with two paintings; “Tears of Milk”; Singapore’s Juror’s Choice Award, ASEAN ART COMPETITION 2002 & “The Key”)


  • What is the relationship between art and mass culture?

  • Explore the shift from Art to Advertising as the largest stimuli for collective visual conditioning

  • Understand / explore further the consequences of social and economic differences between the first and third worlds today
  • Build communication bridges between cultures by showcasing everyday, ordinary life as opposed to stereotypes perpetuated by media

  • Validate and celebrate the individual, versus ‘the hive’

  • Prodding and poking the consequences of a world run by corporations

  • Breaking the mould of how ‘contemporary art’ is presented, viewed, appreciated and criticised today

  • Treating contemporary lifestyle as an organic art-form in itself

  • Collecting & collating various voices on the subject of alternative definitions of art… Encourage multiple readings / multiple associations of art expression

  • Often today, the value of Art is made up almost solely from clever marketing…… How do you feel about this?

I hope to amalgamate some of the above by re - presenting cultural information using alternative communication devices, and by blurring the lines between Art, Lifestyle, Marketing and Design. For example, a pop art café can take on more than just offering a variety of coffee. It can become a live installation where an individual is encouraged to bring to the fore his / her subconscious mind. Firstly by being attracted to the art object, then using it, and eventually having a rapport with it. One can access another’s opinions via utilitarian ‘art’. This can be done by sitting on it, wearing it, drinking from it, eating from it, reading it, writing it, looking at it, hearing it, etc. One person can start a sentence, and the other can finish it. I, like many others, wish to take ‘Art’ out of its traditional context of gallery / museum and bring it into everyday life. Hence the magnifying glass on popular culture.

My husband Jonathan and I run an independent Artists Studio with specific goals to promote dialogue between the third and first worlds using traditional and not so traditional channels of Art-communication. We are currently working with dancers, musicians, writers etc, so ART here is not just the visual only. If you are interested in what we do, or are thinking similarly, we welcome opportunities for collaboration / representation. Or we can join you in what you are doing!

Michi Studio, Singapore

She speaks….”As so called educated, sophisticated individuals, what are we actually saying?? If a handful of individuals are worshipped and adulated on the strength of Hollywood visibility or media proliferation, how does it impact on the rest of the world?? Art is becoming increasingly indistinguishable from lifestyle culture. The modernist aesthetic criteria that originated from the West is, in my opinion, long redundant. A vague ‘democratic’ free market has turned the word CONSUMPTION on its head. Half the world is overstimulated, with little free personal time, and the other half is understimulated, with too much time! So both versions end up thinking the grass is greener on the other side…..There are so many amazing and interesting debates taking place in the world today. They rarely make it to the newspapers or TV. If something cannot be sold, and if there isn’t some sort of ‘profitability’ package indirectly associated to it, its voice remains low. So with these types of thoughts hammering on in my brain every time I go to my cousins’ dinner parties (where everyone is a successful corporate type, tired from too many time-zone business class travels), or every time I watch a bad movie that made millions at the box office, I delight in coming back home to the open discussions on the internet. Slowly, the virtual world that I inhabit seems more real than the ‘real’ one!”


Nov / Dec 2008: SINGAPORE: American Club; Solo Exhibition

Oct 2008: SINGAPORE: Solo Show, ASIAN ART FAIR (
June 2008: INDIA: Travelling Studio; Himalayas; Kashmir, Ladakh, Leh region
May 2008: SINGAPORE: Ascott Hotel; Public Ares; Two Photo Collage Commissions
March 2008: INDIA: Opening of India Studio; Pune
Dec 2007: INDIA: Travelling Studio; Goa
Oct 2007: SINGAPORE: Art Installation @ Orchard road; commissioned by Wheelock Properties;
SINGAPORE: Solo Show, Asian Art Fair @ Suntec City
July 2007: SINGAPORE: ‘Bollywood Pop’ Art Styling at ‘The Rupee Room’ @ Clarke Quay
June 2007: SINGAPORE: Art Installation at the new ‘Screening Room’ Restaurant, Ann Siang Rd

March 2007: SINGAPORE: ‘Chalo Asia’; Solo Exhibition at Indigo Blue Art Gallery

Dec / Jan 2007: INDIA: Photo Documentation of Mumbai, Pune, Hodka villages in Kutch (Gujarat), Mandvi, Ahemdabad, Vidyanagar, Karamsad, Dharmaj, Nadiad, Udaipur, Ranakpur, Jodhpur, Manwar, Pokran, Jaiselmer, Bikaner, Jaipur, Agra and Delhi.

Nov 2006: SINGAPORE: 20 Nov 06 – Artwork commission for SNOW Benefit for UNIFEM;

Sustainable Livelihood Programme, Conrad Centennial Hotel; Art theme: “Women as Guardians of Heritage & Culture”

June 2006: THAILAND; BANGKOK: Photo documentation of Bangkok city
May 2006: SINGAPORE: 17 – 21st May; Exhibition @ NUS Centre for the Arts; University Cultural Centre Hall

(In commemoration of ‘Man of Letters’ musical by Dick Lee)

March 2006: INDONESIA: Commission by Sampoerna Foundation; Photo documentation of SQIP (School Quality Improvement Program) schools in Sumatra, Kalimantan, Java, Bali
July 2005 – March 2006: SINGAPORE: Weekly radio show on Art + Design @ WKRZ, 91.5
Jan / Feb 2006: SINGAPORE: American Club; Solo Exhibition
Nov 2 – 24, 2005: SINGAPORE: Mentor; Creative Youth Xchange @ Gallery Hotel, Organized by MICA
Dec 6 – 9, 2005: SINGAPORE: Contemporary 2005; Apad’s Art Exhibition, ARTrium @ MICA
Nov / Dec / Jan 2005/6: SINGAPORE: Esplanade; Jendela Gallery; “Pop Puri Singapura”; Group Exhibition
Oct / Nov / Dec 2005: SINGAPORE: Esplanade; Concourse Space; “Jalan Asia”; Solo Exhibition
Nov 2005: SINGAPORE: UNIFEM ‘SNOW’ benefit; Fundraising Art Auction (to commemorate the UN declared International Day to end violence against women)

Oct 2005: SINGAPORE: INSEAD Business School; 20 – 23 Oct; Alumni Weekend; Solo Exhibition

Sept / Oct 2005: SINGAPORE; Asian Art Fair @ Suntec City; Solo Exhibition
May 2005: SINGAPORE; “Asia is watching” Asian Pop Series @ VANILLA HOME Gallery, Club St
March 14 – 19, 2005: LONDON; “The Art of India in Britain”; Group Show @ AIR Gallery, Mayfair
March 19 – April 23, 2005: SINGAPORE; “Chipbee Boheme”, Group Show @ MICHI Art Gallery
Feb 17 – 24, 2005: SINGAPORE; Arts House, Old Parliament, “Finding Sunshine”, Group Exhibition + Arts Auction (for helping children affected by the Tsunami disaster)
Jun 30 – Jul 16, 2004: ROME, ITALY; ‘Occhi sul Mundo’ (Eyes on the World), Solo Exhibition, Galleria Bibliothe
June 2004: MANCHESTER, U.K; All the bedroom and foyer Artwork for BIRCH HOTEL, Heywood
March 12, 2004: MIDDLESEX; NORTH LONDON COLLEGIATE; Talk on Colour Theory; Edgware
Feb 13 – 29, 2004: LONDON; ‘Tears of Milk’ Solo Exhibition at Clarendon Cross Gallery, London

Feb 6 – 8, 2004: MIDDLESEX, U.K; ‘Tears of Milk’ Solo Exhibition, Travellers Studio, Harrow Arts Centre

Oct 2003: MUSCAT, OMAN; Bait Muzna Gallery, Group Exhibition

Sept / Oct 2003: HELSINKI, FINLAND: ‘Third World Rainbows’, Solo Art Exhibition, Gallery Stockgard

June / July / August 2003: SRI LANKA, KENYA, EGYPT; Travels / Documentation

April / May 2003: PUNE, INDIA: 2 months of documenting and Photo Collage studies in temporary studio

Feb 2003: NEW YORK; CHENGLATH STUDIO; Open House Solo Show

Jan / Feb 2003: JAMAICA, CAYMAN ISLANDS, BAHAMAS, CUBA, & USA; Travels & Documentation


Talk about recent visit to Cuba to The Department of Children & Families for the State of Florida; Refugee Services, Tallahasse, Florida

2002: SINGAPORE; MEMORY BOXES; Group show featuring 10 female artists; organized by UTU Artworks; Suntec City (show highlighting themes of heritage and cultural memories)

SINGAPORE; BOLLYWOOD EXTRAVAGANZA: One night Art Exhibition & Official Premiere of Short Film ’Little India Trip’, Club Centro, One Fullerton, Singapore
SINGAPORE; “CROSSROADS & CONVERSATIONS, Group Art Show organized by UTU Artworks; featuring a scientist, computer programmer, video jockey, sculptor etc at The Orientalist, Tanglin Rd, Singapore
HONG KONG; ART LEASE LTD: Commission in Hong Kong for 70 Show Apartments

BALI; ASEAN ART AWARD: Philip Morris Group of Companies Asean Art Awards 2001/2002, Bali International Convention Centre, Indonesia

SINGAPORE; FIRST STEPS: Philip Morris Group of Companies Singapore Art Awards 2001/2002, The Gallery@Paragon, Singapore + Travelling show at Tanjong Pagar, Bukit Batok, Changi Simei, Ulu Pandan and Bishan Community Clubs.
SINGAPORE; THE NEW FAMILY & JUVENILE COURT BUILDING, Havelock Square; Commission of 8 Paper Collage Artworks
2001: SINGAPORE; SWISSOTEL THE STAMFORD HOTEL; ‘Rojak Asia’; 7 Panels commission for “New Asia Bar & Grill”; Photo Collage Sculpture measuring 6 x 1.5 m
ITALY; Photo documentation of Renaissance images from travels in Rome, Florence, Venice, Milan etc; Part of Long term Project “Visual Harmonics”
SINGAPORE; ART TALK organized by The Women Artists’ Registry at The Substation
INDIA; MAHAKUMBHMELA FESTIVAL: Photo documentation; (70 million people), Allahabad, plus side trips to Varanasi & Calcutta; Part of forthcoming series of works

SINGAPORE; WOMEN BEYOND BORDERS: Traveling Exhibition, Sculpture Square, Singapore
2000: SINGAPORE; RAFFLES THE PLAZA HOTEL, Singapore; Commission for bedroom artwork; of 230 Collage Artworks
MAURITIUS; OBEROI HOTEL, Commission: Paintings & Ceramic Artwork for entire Hotel; 74 Suites
SPAIN; Barcelona, Seville, Cordoba, Granada, Toledo etc: Photo documentation; Part of Long term

Project “Visual Harmonics”



Seminar + Workshop organized by The Ministry of Education at the National University of Singapore

SINGAPORE ART MUSEUM: Nokia Singapore Art 1999; Exhibition of ‘Singaporean Doorways’ Photo Collage
SINGAPORE; UNESCO MANIFESTO 2000: Live Art Performance (Key Project for the International Year for a Culture of Peace & Non-violence); Singapore Power Auditorium

SRI LANKA & VIETNAM (Mekong Delta): Photo Documentation; Part of forthcoming Exhibition
SINGAPORE; YESTERDAY, TODAY TOMORROW – Indian Art through the Ages, Caldwell House, Chijmes, Singapore Group Exhibition with Contemporary Artists from India
SINGAPORE; ‘WOMAN’ – A Celebration; Notices Gallery, Singapore; Group Exhibition; Homage to International Woman’s Day
SINGAPORE; ‘Feature 2’; ART 2 Gallery; Substation, Group Exhibition
INDIA; Photo Documentation of Varanasi, Khajuraho, Udaipur & New Delhi
SINGAPORE; SHORT FILM; “Little India Trip”; Funded by the Singapore Film Commission
1998: SINGAPORE; The Canadian International School; Part time teaching
SINGAPORE; ‘Four Brown Girls and Schubert’; Sunday Studio; Group Exhibition
SINGAPORE; ‘Personal Stories’; UTU Artworks; Group Exhibition
SINGAPORE; Creative Arts Program; Book Cover + Workshop organized by the Ministry of Education at

The National University of Singapore

KENYA + TANZANIA; Photo Documentation of the ‘Masaai’ tribe in Keekorok National Park & Ngorongoro Crater

SINGAPORE; ‘Contemporary Vietnamese Art’ Exhibition at the Alliance Francais; Curator & Organizer
SINGAPORE; Philip Morris Art Competition; Caldwell House, Chijmes; Honourable Mention
1996: SINGAPORE; Conrad International Centennial Hotel; Commission; 900 Woodcut / Ink Paintings for all bedrooms
PERSONAL INFORMATION Full name: Ketna Jitendra Patel

Sex Female
Date of Birth: 27th June 1968
Place of Birth: Uganda, East Africa

Indigenous origin: Gujarat, India

Nationality: British

Country of Residency: Singapore

(Permanent Resident since 1996)

EDUCATION 1991 – 1993: The Architectural Association, London; BA (Hons)

1987 – 1991: Middlesex University, Interior Architecture, BA (Hons)

1986 – 1987: University of Westminster, Fine Arts Foundation Diploma

1976 - 1984: Diploma in Bharat Natyam Indian Dance

(Bharatiya Sangeet Samiti)
WORK EXPERIENCE 2005 onwards: MICHI Artists Studio, Singapore; Resident Artist

1996 – 2004: UTU Artworks, Singapore; Artist + Art Consultant
1994 – 1996: DP Architects Pte Ltd, Singapore + Michael Wilford & Associates, London
Esplanade Theatres on the Bay; Architectural + Design Team

1990 – 1991: Din Associates, London

Interior Design / Concepts for High Street Fashion Houses

1989: Parekh Associates, Baltimore, USA; Architectural Firm


Conrad International Centennial; Raffles The Plaza Hotel; Swissotel The Stamford Hotel; Changi International Airport; Ministry of Education (Gifted Education); Singapore Tourist Promotion Board; Singapore Repertoire Theatre; SAFRA National Service Association; The New Family & Juvenile Court; Far East Organization; Orange Grove Rd Service Apartments; Draycott Park, Balmoral Crescent Condominium; Motorola Electronics; Indus International Asia Ltd; Novotel Hotel


The Oberoi, Mauritius; Shangri-La Hotel, Qingdao, China; Sheraton Senggigi Resort, Lombok; Spencon Pte Ltd; Kenya; Kenya High Commission, Malaysia; Art Lease, Hong Kong; The Birch Hotel, Manchester, U.K

Private Collections:

Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Belgium, France, Holland, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Denmark, Finland, Canada, U.S.A, India, Sri Lanka, Bali, Indonesia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Oman, United Arab Emirates


2008: Feb INDIA: IndiaSe; The magazine for Global Indians; Vol.2; Lifestyle and Culture

March 3 SINGAPORE: Nirali magazine; Issue 20; Home Gallery Debut

March 3 SINGAPORE: Explorer; Singapore Info; Singapore Art
March 3 SINGAPORE: Liassezfaire; Personal Blog

2007: Jan-Dec SINGAPORE; The Finder; Asia Pop Artwork and studio
Jan-Dec SINGAPORE; Time out! Singapore; Asia Pop Artwork and studio
SINGAPORE; City Scoops-Second Edition; West mixed Arts; Living Arts
SINGAPORE; Forum; Vol. 5; Flash -Art Attack; Asia Pop Culture

March SINGAPORE; Harper’s Bazaar; Glamour Guide; The Illustrious Painter

March 2 SINGAPORE; The Straits Times; Critics’ pick –Chalo ! Asia solo exhibition @ Indigo Blue Art Gallery

March 2 SINGAPORE; I-S Magazine; Cool Malay and Indian Things

March 3 SINGAPORE; The Straits Times Forum; Life!; Go Asia !
March 21 SINGAPORE; The Straits Times; Life! ; Reign Check; Royal misfit
May 28 SINGAPORE; The Business Times; Company news ; Wheelock exhibition
June / July SINGAPORE; Singapore Art Gallery Guide; Vol. 3; Art news; Editor Choice

August SINGAPORE; Silverkris - The travel magazine of Singapore Airlines; Touchdown ; Life in Technicolor

Sept / October SINGAPORE; Asian Art; Vol. 17; A Decade of Transition
October SINGAPORE; Safforn magazine; Asia Pop by Ketna Patel

October 20 SINGAPORE; The Straits Times; Web radio; Art on the Move

November 3 SINGAPORE; The Straits Times; Life!; Bedroom antic at Wheelock Art Gallery
December SINGAPORE; Home and Décor – Stylish Living Made Easy

2006 Jan-Dec SINGAPORE; The Finder; Asia Pop Artwork and studio
May SINGAPORE; Anza magazine – Commonwealth Bank Anza Sports City ; Top Stories; The Art of Ketna Patel

SINGAPORE; Homes- Singapore Tatler ; 12 Homes of the Rich and famous ; Open house by designer Stefanie Hauger

Sept 30 SINGAPORE; The Strait Times; Life!; Tips on buying your first artwork

March 2 SINGAPORE; The Straits Times; Critics’ pick; Chalo! Asia solo exhibition @ Indigo Blue Art Gallery

December SINGAPORE; Home and Concept – Live in Inspiration; Hot Seat; Asia Pop series

SINGAPORE; ISH- Fragments from an Urbanescape architecture/ Interior/ Design and Life in the City;

Asia Pop by Ketna Patel dynamic collages at Vanilla homes

2005: March 23 SINGAPORE; The Straits Times; Life! Events; Chipbee Artist Boheme
June SINGAPORE; Singapore Art Gallery Guide ; Art News; A New Asian Pop Art !
SINGAPORE; Home and Décor – Stylish Living Made Easy; My place ; Bohemian Rhapsody

October SINGAPORE; I-S magazine: Cover page; Cool Malay and Indian things

October 28 SINGAPORE; The Straits Times; Life! Events; Malay and Indian Festival ; Jalan Asia ; Pop Puri art Installation

December 11 SINGAPORE; The Straits Times; The Sunday Times; Gandhi image on ‘Slipper’ draw ire

2004: Feb 19 KENSINGTON AND CHELSEA; News; World Pulse Beats in Traveler’s Art
MARYLEBONE AND PADDINGTON; Mercury; World Pulse Beats in Traveler’s Art
FULHAM AND HAMMERSMITH; Chronicle; World Pulse Beats in Traveler’s Art
WESTMISTER AND PIMLICO; News; World Pulse Beats in Traveler’s Art

2003: SINGAPORE; The Straits Times; Arts and Entertainment; Installation Art that Breaks New Ground
October 1 SWEDEN; Vastra Nyland; Livshjul och regnbagår
October 2 FINLAND; Kirrrononnen Sanonat; Kolmanen mailman sateenkaaria Siuntiossa
October 20 EMIRATES; Gulf News; Around Emirates; 36 Indian works of art under one roof
October MUSCAT, OMAN; The Week; Indian Art Exhibition at Bait Muzna
September 9 SWEDEN; Färgstark utställning på Stockgård

2002: March 8 SINGAPORE; The Straits Times; Life! News; Art Awards
July / August SINGAPORE; Asian Art News; An Engaging Vision
September SINGAPORE; Home and Decor; Kitchen with Personality
November 1 SINGAPORE; The Straits Times; Life! News; Refining Art on a Magic Carpet
2000: July 17 SINGAPORE; The Straits Times; Life! Cover Story; New Substation Heads lay out their ideas

1999: SINGAPORE; Nokia Singapore Art; Singapore Art Today

1998: September SINGAPORE; Stylehawk; Art in the Garden by UTU artworks

September 15 SINGAPORE; Femina – For the women of substance; UTU artworks

1997: May 8 SINGAPORE; The Straits Times; Life! Cover Story; Art out of the Gallery

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