The ancient Vedas, written in Sanskrit, allude to their gods as Devas – celestial and benevolent beings also referred to as the ‘shining ones’. In Ayesha’s surrealist body of wearable metal pieces, each one originates from the iconography and cosmologies associated with Asian deities and their physical forms, mirroring the jewellery and the name itself. Ayesha reveals that her middle name, Sureya, is derived from the god of the Sun and light, Surya; it’s no coincidence that she feels compelled to illustrate this mythic connection.
The artist has just returned to London, fresh off a six-month adventure wandering around India, where she connected with artisanal masterminds and also shot the Devas collection with photographer Ritika Singh. Captured at dawn, they collectively produced a series of ethereal photographs that frame overlapping, shining bodies as they dance on the vast landscapes of the Indian Ocean. The photos are tinged with inspiration drawn from old Indian lithographs from India’s colonial era, which historically helped democratise depictions of Hindu cosmologies.
‘Travelling to India was a lifelong awaited homecoming for me after generations of migration between India, East Africa and the UK. With so much of what I reference and embody coming from my ancestry in India, I knew the work could only truly be captured there.’
The Mudra Ring wraps around the finger, with two hands shaped into Mudras at either end, symbolic of two-handed Mudras or Samyukta hasta; however, Ayesha designed the ring with two separate gestures in mind. The weight of the ring is designed for the wearer to feel held and safeguarded by the hands as they hug the finger.
The placement of the ear-cuffs and earrings frames the head like a cathartic halo (Prabhamandala) and invites the wearer to become a vessel from which to visualise the dreamlike combination of incarnation and embodiment. Fractalled portals emerge in the repetition of Mudras that allude to multifacetedness, motion, and illusions of dance that illustrate the subconscious, surreal meaning in their form.
*The Kali Ring is informed by histories spanning generations in India, the UK, and world religions, touching on ideologies and imagery of a protruding tongue. For example, the “cloven tongues of fire” that incited early Christianity to ‘speak in tongues’ illustrate the tongue as a vessel of communication and gifts of the spirit; as no other organ protrudes from the body, it is natural that it comes to express what is within us. Although symbolism is not completely unique to Kali’s mythology, she is a subversive figure that represents duality, femininity, and resistance.
*The Kali ring also features in a collaborative animation with illustrator Kelly Tran – Kali Ma’s Decent – depicting 3D reimaginings, falling from a dark sky into a euphoric land. You can watch this on www.ayeshasureyajewellery.com.
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