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Janaki Lele

Visual arts
Mawson Lakes


My work is constantly emerging, with subject matter that has its roots in landscape, architecture, human mind and fiction. Various forms and textures also find their way in my work. My style can be described as intricate, rich in texture, colour and imagination.    I hand cut sheets of paper into delicate observations of my mind and surroundings to tell a story. My stories are often told in layers, juxtaposed onto each other to create depth, shadows and interest. The cut portions also serve as a delicate window to reveal silhouettes in the next layer. The stories have a touch of whimsy and fantasy. Employing the traditional papier-mâché technique, I also indulge in paper sculptures. These sculptures are made from discarded newspapers and finished with pages from pre-loved books, which imparts them a light environmental footprint. The inherent black and white ensures no distraction from form/texture and gives them a vintage, dreamy character.


Having called the vibrant and populous cities of Mumbai and Pune home, I closely witnessed the ingenious utilisation of ever-scarce resources to their fullest potential. The vast openness of my current home (Australia) gave me the freedom to wander inside my own mind and nurture my imagination. The humble paper, thus, was an obvious choice of material for a self-confessed obsessive recycler like me.  Paper exhibits a duplicity of fragility and flexibility which is why I work with two distinct techniques. I employ the traditional paper mache technique to explore the myriad textures and forms of the animal kingdom in my sculptures. Their finish with pages from books, imparts a dreamy character to the animals. On the other hand, I hand cut sheets of paper into in an intricate and often layered investigation of my surrounds and the human mind.  I was born in India, studied to be an Architect and taught myself to be a Visual Artist. I have exhibited in Sydney, before recently moving to Adelaide. In 2014 I had an installation of my paper sculptures along the beloved Bondi coast for 'Sculpture by the Sea'.


I welcome commission work for both cut paper art as well as animal sculptures.  I have a lot of interest in public art projects. Although paper as a material lends itself to mainly indoor display, I have a few ideas about using it for outdoor displays. I can also always lend my designs to metal cutworks which can very well be displayed outdoors.