135 artists are taking part in "Inside Job" which takes place on the 7th and 8th of April on Level 6 of Tate Modern. Over the next few weeks The Rebel Magazine will be chatting to some of the Tate staff who are showing their artwork. Today we say Hello to Raksha Patel
Q) Where did you grow up and what kind of education did you receive?
"I grew up in Leicester and went to a comprehensive school before attending Norwich School of Art to study BA Illustration. Following this, I worked for a few years at Tate and then studied MFA Painting at the Slade School of Art. I have been fortunate enough to have had supportive tutors throughout my journey at art college. My secondary school teacher Lois took us on school trips to the Tate and introduced us to contemporary art. It was where I first saw Bill's Viola's film on life and death, which I found incredible. She also helped me to secure a place on an art foundation course despite the fact I had failed most of my GCSEs. I should also say that had my education not been free (I was awarded maintenance grants and my fees paid for both my BA and MFA) I’m not sure that I would have been a practising artist today and I’m extremely thankful for that."
Q) How long have you been working at the Tate and what's the best show you've seen there?
"I have been working at Tate since 1996 mainly as an artist-educator giving workshops and talks to school and college groups. I also give talks to adults on corporate events, which I enjoy, as the sharing of creative ideas keeps my artistic practice alive.
I have seen lots of exciting exhibitions at Tate. The one that I remember best was ABRACADABRA in 1999. This exhibition had humongous glass sculptures depicting red mushrooms made by Keith Edmier, they transported you to fantastical worlds seen in Sci-Fi films. There were also sculptures by Maurizio Cattelan that showed a school child with pencils driven through his hands and a squirrel that had committed suicide. The surreal quality of the works in that exhibition were simultaneously humorous and dark, they resonated strongly with the work that I was making at the time."
Q) What can you tell me about the work you're exhibiting in the Tate Modern show?
"My painting Mantel Piece explores the space that is usually seen at the centre of the family home, a structure providing warmth, reassurance and security. The painting shows a fragment of a factory wall that resembles a relic from the past, a crumbling monolith of a long gone powerhouse. It comes from a photograph that I took of derelict factories in the Midlands that would have once been sources of family income providing the coal for hearth but are now empty shells awaiting regeneration. Mantel Piece reflects upon our rapidly changing urban and economic landscape with the near future that seeks to create divisions rather that bring us collectively together. The space is reflective of my childhood landscape that forms a part of identity, which is what I am exploring in my work right now.."
Q) How can people find out more about your work - do you have a website or do Instagram?
You can see more at www.rakshapatel.co.uk and on instagram @rakshabattersea
Q) What's the best thing about working for the Tate?
"The staff at Tate are like one big family to me. It is the friendliest place that I work at and I enjoy being there. I resonate closely with Tate Britain as it’s the gallery that I have grown up with and have witnessed many changes whilst seeing changes in myself and in my practice as an artist. One thing that I would like to see in the future at Tate is more work on display by British Asian artists. This is because I believe that the history of the Asian Diaspora to Britain is under-represented in the visual arts especially within mainstream platforms and collections."