On a journey home.
Rupy C. Tut is an Oakland, California based artist. She came of age in Punjab, India but moved to America right before High School. Rupy retains a strong connection to her Punjabi Sikh background and it continues to inspire and guide her journey as an artist and calligrapher.
Image credit: Portrait of Rupy C. Tut by Lara Kaur
Rupy is an Oakland based visual artist blending mainly two unique traditional art forms: calligraphy and Indian miniature painting.
Rupy’s work is particularly remarkable for her strict practice with traditional materials and methods associated with calligraphy and Indian miniature painting. Her work with these two forms has been presented through exhibits, talks and demonstrations at major venues including deYoung Museum in San Francisco, Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, London City Hall, Stanford University, and Peel Art Gallery and Museum Archives in Toronto, Canada.
Tut produces collections that challenge norms of identity and belonging as well as document the richness of her experiences as a first generation Punjabi Sikh immigrant. In 2018, her first major international solo exhibition titled “A Journey Back Home” opened at Peel Art Gallery and Museum Archives in the Toronto area. Rupy's work with paintings and calligraphy also becomes translated into the medium of photography and video. The resulting visual projections are a unique way to experience artwork that is otherwise meant for small canvases and close audience.
Using a traditional way of making, I dissect historical moments of displacement and struggle while evaluating their impact on contemporary identity and narratives. When history and tradition are dismissed as not relevant, I return to both to discover elements that are recognizable and relatable to our lives today.
In a process based practice, my work is varied including works on paper and canvas, video installations, and development of traditional materials. I focus on stories and symbols of my people derived from eastern imagery as well as diasporic identity. The power of language and script inspires me to create calligraphy that gives physical space and visibility to uncommon scripts. As I evoke traditional methodology of making pigments, paper, and form, I meditate on the nuances of a hybrid identity and socio-political influences. I question traditional roles and labels by preserving traditional practices and making.
My work intends to engage the viewer as a witness of history and traditional practice while reflecting on current events. The viewer also becomes a co-author of narratives that are cyclical and join the past to the present.
The expressed narrative in my work is individualistic, detailed, and current while the materials, methods, and forms remain constrained within centuries old guidelines and tradition. Throughout historical struggles of identity, art has been a strong reflection of the sentiments of the masses. I aim to create work that encourages openness and willingness of the viewer to engage with something that might feel culturally specific but very much alive and relatable to their own experience.
RUPY C. TUT (b. 1985)
Lives in Oakland, CA
Prince’s School of Traditional Arts, London, UK
Guler/Kangra Miniature Painting Susana Marin 2016 – present
Arabesque florals Amber Khokhar 2015
Mughal Miniature Painting Ajay Sharma 2015
Calligraphy: Script and Color Gaynor Goffe 2015
Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA MPH in Global Health 2009
University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
BS in Evolutionary and Ecological Biology;Minor in South Asian Studies 2006
2018 Rupy C. Tut: A Journey Back Home, Peel Art Gallery, Museum & Archives, Brampton, ON. April 7 – July 2.
2017 Solo Exhibition, Broken Seeds Still Grow, The Flight Deck, Oakland, CA. November 16-19.
2021 Auction Preview Exhibition, Headlands Center for the Arts, Sausalito, CA. May 15 - June 16.
2021 The Golden Temple: Center of Sikh Faith, Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, AZ. April 2021 - April 2022.
2020 The deYoung Open, The deYoung Museum, San Francisco, CA. October 10 - January 3.
2020 Popadum!, curated by Kamardip Singh in collaboration with Asian American Women Artists Association, The Galallery, San Francisco, CA. March.
2020 Women Pathmakers, Euphrat Museum of Art, DeAnza College, Cupertino, CA. Jan - Mar.
2020 Reflections on Exile, Roots Division, San Francisco, CA. Jan - Feb.
2019 Juried, Diaspora Voiced, Rhythmix Cultural Works, Alameda, CA. Sept 9 - Nov 1, 2019.
2019 Expressions of Divinity, Triton Museum of Art, Santa Clara, CA. Aug 31 - Nov 3, 2019.
2018 Performative installation, ON LOVE: the art of lines, shapes, and symbols, Arts Brookfield, Brookfield Place, New York. April 17- April 29, 2018.
2016 London City Hall, London, UK, April 9-22nd
2015 Calligraphies in Conversation, Ziya Art, SF Bay Area, CA
2014 Berkeley Painters Open House, Berkeley, CA
2014 Sikh Lens Film and Art Festival, San Jose, CA
2014 Featured in Komagata Maru by Neelamjit Dhillon, Valencia, CA
2013 Art of Partition, 1947 Partition Archive, 2013
2012 Art Fair, Silk Street Trading Co. Trunk Show, ICC, Milipitas, CA
2012 Art Fair, Silk Street Trading Co. Trunk Show, W Hotel, Westwood, CA
2012 Art Fair, Silk Street Trading Co. Trunk Show, Hyatt Regency, Newport Beach, CA
2011 Sikh Lens film and art festival, Chapman University, CA
2011 Panelist, Sikh Lens film and Art Festival, Chapman University, CA
2021 Creative Residency at SPACE at Ryder Farm, Brewster, NY. (cancelled due to COVID-19).
2020 Selected as Associate Artist at The Atlantic Center for the Arts with Master Artists Paul Rucker. (cancelled due to COVID-19)
2015 Artist-in-residence cataloguing and researching more than 400 pieces of art in the Kapany Collection of Fine Art , Sikh Foundation, Palo Alto, CA.
TEACHING & PUBLIC ENGAGEMENTS
2020 The deYoung Open: Artist Panel, hosted by Timothy A. Burgard. Part of Virtual Wednesdays. December 2.
2020 Virtual Art Salon, created and produced by Rupy C. Tut and Jason Wyman with support of New York Foundation for the Arts. December 2.
2020 Live Forum with Jvalaa Singh, Indian miniature paintings and ancient text. April 25.
2019-20 Facilitator, 3 Video Roundtable Discussions on building collaborations, New York Foundation for the Arts Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program.
2019 Workshop, Applying traditional language to a contemporary thought, Art Speak Interns Program, Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, CA. November 10.
2019 Lecture: Art, Identity and Belonging, Haresh and Joan Shah Series, California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco. September 19.
2019 Brown bag Lunch Artist Talk, Triton Museum of Art, Santa Clara, CA. October 9, 2019.
2018 Artist Talk, Rupy C. Tut: A Journey Back Home, Peel Art Gallery, Museum & Archives,Brampton, ON. April 22.
2017 Talk, Art Against the Grain with Rupy Tut, Impact Hub, Birmingham, U.K., April 26.
2017 Workshop and Artist Talk, Sikh Heritage Month Ontario, Peel Art Gallery, Museum & Archives, Brampton, ON. April 15 & 16.
2017 Demo and Talk, Saints and Kings: Arts, Culture, and Legacy of the Sikhs, Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, CA. March 24 & March 25.
2016 Demo and Talk, Language of Colors: A Discussion of Guru Nanak’s Janamsakhi Life Stories, Asian Art Museum, February 20.
2019 Creator/Director/Visual Artist, Designer, and Animator, “Broken Seeds Still Grow: Taking Root”, dance theater visual art production premiering March 2019 at CounterPulse in San Francisco, CA
2017 Creator/Director/Visual Artist, “Broken Seeds Still Grow”, dance theater visual art production premiered in November 2017 at the Flight Deck, Oakland, CA
2017 Designer (pattern and garment), Rupy C. Tut x Rootsgear SS17 Collection, a collection of streetwear consisting of printed t-shirts and scarves featuring motifs from traditional miniature painting tradition and geometry.
2019 Juror Award for “Peace Out, Patriarchy”, Diaspora Voiced, Rhythmix Cultural Works, Alameda, CA. September 14.
2020 Mentorship with Sandra Yagi via the Northern California Women’s Caucus for the Arts Mentorship program. January - June.
2019 Mentorship with Karen Fiss. Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program - Oakland, New York Foundation for the Arts, Oakland, CA. Jan - April.