.Shivashtie Poonwassie is an artist who exudes calmness and clarity. Despite her relatively diminutive size, she creates large scale sculptures made from blocks of fresh bricks on site at a traditional brick factory. As she works, both she and the work are exposed to the elements, the chill of winter and the heat of summer. The sculptures are fired on site in the huge kilns of the brick factory alongside hand and machine made bricks destined for restoration projects and builder's yards. The kilns take days to load, fire up, cool down and unload, a process which can take up to two weeks. Once fired, the pieces are painstakingly reassembled to form the head. Each brick reacts in a different way, both inside the kiln and once placed outside, making their final form unpredictable, each crack unforseeable. They are chance cracked products of a meticulous process. They stand solidly, permanently, yet we know that they are merely the sum of their parts, the humble mass-produced brick. The whole is a calm reflection on the complex and individual psychological parts that make up the mind, the head and the person.
Shivashtie was born in Trinidad, West Indies before emigrating to England as a child in 1965. She grew up in London and decided to pursue a career as a psychologist. She graduated with a Degree in Psychology and a Masters Degree in Occupational Psychology and later worked as a Human Factors Consultant before returning to her core interest in sculpting and painting. Thinking that her interests lay in the intricacies of production with delicate materials, she gained a degree in Ceramics and Glass. As the artist says, 'I soon realised that everything I did turned into a sculpture', even the works in glass, one of the most fragile of all materials.
The artist has exhibited widely both regionally and in London including Exploration of White at the Rickshaw House Gallery, London (2010), Artweeks at the Castle, 03 Gallery, Oxford Castle, Oxford (2010) and 'My mind is the Only Thing I Know Really Exists' at The Menier Chocolate Factory, London (2009). The artist currently lives and works in London.