Shruti Yatri


NameShruti Yatri (he/him)
Country of BirthIndia
Place of ResidenceTāmaki Makaurau Auckland
ArtformVisual arts
Decades Active1990s, 2000s, 2010s, 2020s


Shruti Yatri is a painter based in Tāmaki Makaurau whose career has spanned several decades. His painting practice has continuously explored Hindu spirituality through language, symbols, colours, materials and iconography.

Yatri was born in Lucknow to Sikh parents and migrated to Hastings at the age of 26. Soon after moving to Aotearoa, Yatri began working in the orchards and started night classes in painting. Yatri graduated from Elam School of Fine Art with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1993 and a Master of Fine Art in 1995. He has exhibited regularly throughout Aotearoa and internationally in Hiroshima, New York and New Delhi. Yatri has been an arts tutor at several organisations throughout Tāmaki Makaurau, such as the Parnell Community Trust.

In MAHAMAYA (1997) at Te Tuhi, he employed formal aspects of divine geometry, a common Hindu visual tradition found in temples, creating geometric forms from mixed pigments and moulds, placing them on the gallery walls to create an abstracted human shape, similar to a stick figure. Yatri describes this imagery as “the visual-phonetic qualities of Sanskrit letter forms which themselves are representations of the Divine mother - SHAKTI MA.”

Lovely Lord White as Jasmine (2014) was a solo survey exhibition held at Papakura Art Gallery in 2014 and marked 20 years of making for the artist. As stated in the catalogue, Yatri transitioned from landscape watercolours to painting Hindu symbols and icons. In describing Yatri’s use of iconography, Balamohan Shingade states that the symbols “function as diagrams for experience, not as re-presentations or metaphors, but as potent and useful tools. Like a map used to navigate the landscape, Yatri’s symbols and icons structure that which is sensed and experienced.

Yatri finds connections between te reo Māori and Sanskrit script, as seen in PĪPĪWHARAUROA, a painting shown in A Place to Stand: Contemporary Indian Art in Aotearoa (2022) presented at Auckland Museum by Kshetra Collective, which Yatri is part of. This work, consisting of seven sequential panels, uses the language Devangari deriving from Northern India to articulate the name of a bird commonly spoken about the Māori proverbs. In these panels, like in many of his other works, Yatri uses mica to create dimension and give a sparkling quality to the paint. Throughout his practice, he often mixes substances: silver and gold leaf, resins, enamel, and even experiments with different paints to create variation in the visual experience that his works can offer. As he describes, in using pumice and mica, which the artist sources from the west coast of Aotearoa, he “incorporates the landscape into his work.” As curator, Tracey Williams describes, “Yatri’s work is a reflection of the two nations and cultures he has inhabited during his lifetime.”


Key works / presentations

2023 — Invisible Narratives: Contemporary Indian Creatives from Aotearoa (Kshetra Collective), New Zealand Portrait Gallery Te Pūkenga Whakaata, Pōneke

2022 — A Place to Stand: Contemporary Indian Art in Aotearoa (Kshtera Collective), Te Taunga Community Hub in Auckland Museum, Tāmaki Makaurau

2014 — Lovely Lord White as Jasmine: 20 Year Survey Show, Papakura Art Gallery, Tāmaki Makaurau

2006 — PAINTINGS, McPhersons Gallery, Tāmaki Makaurau

2004 — Bindu, Corbans Estate, Tāmaki Makaurau

2001 — BLOOM, Pātaka Art + Museum, Porirua

1999 — I think I know who you are, Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery, Tāmaki Makaurau

1997 — Shruti Yatri: MAHAMAYA, Te Tuhi, Tāmaki Makaurau

Key awards

1998 — Sanskriti Kendra-Visual Artists Residency Fellowship, New Delhi

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Last updated: 3 March 2024 Suggest an Edit