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she walked in reverse and found their songs

she walked in reverse and found their songs

Suchitra Mattai

Suchitra Mattai was born in Georgetown, Guyana, and immigrated to Canada as a young child. The history of her ancestors—brought from India to work as indentured laborers in Guyana—deeply influences her practice. Using techniques passed down through generations, she weaves materials marked by the past into a collective story of migration and gendered labor. In this exhibition Mattai turns inward, examining the power of memory in the creation of her own stories: sometimes factual, sometimes fantastical, with divergent pieces collapsing and combining into something new.

At the center of the exhibition, Mattai reimagines her grandparents’ home in Guyana, the core of her migration story. Elsewhere, the imagined interior of that home spills into the gallery, where sculptures and characters help guide us along a memory journey. The title of the exhibition, she walked in reverse and found their songs, points to the ways in which peering back can help us find our place in the world. But it also points to slippages between past and present, reminding us that memory is subjective and that histories can—and should—be rewritten. Mattai invites us to create space for ourselves where there was none before, engage legacies of the past while rupturing with tradition, and mobilize memory toward new futures.


June 5–September 15, 2024


Artist Website & Instagram


Suchitra Mattai, a cosmic awakening (detail), 2023, vintage saris, fringe, and tassels Courtesy of the artist and Roberts Projects LA Photo by Heather Rasmussen

Upcoming Events

Support for she walked in reverse and found their songs is provided by lead sponsors Ethan Beard and Wayee Chu, and Pamela and David Hornik; exhibition sponsors Tad Freese and Brook Hartzell, Lizelle and Martin Green, Rebecca and Cal Henderson, and Susan Swig; and exhibition partners Bennett Roberts and Cadogan Tate. Additional support provided by Sherwin-Williams and LUMA Hotel San Francisco.

Suchitra Mattai is a multi-disciplinary artist of Indo-Caribbean descent who creates mixed-media paintings, sculptures, and installations that often combine processes and materials associated with the domestic sphere, such as embroidery, weaving, and found clothing, in order to honor the labor of women.

Past projects include group exhibitions at the MCA Chicago, the ICA Boston, Crystal Bridges Museum (Bentonville, AR), the Sharjah Biennial 14 (Sharjah, UAE) , the Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto, Canada), the MCA Denver, and solo exhibitions at the Center for Visual Art MSU Denver and the Boise Museum of Art. Upcoming 2024 solo exhibitions include Socrates Sculpture Park (New York, NY), the Tampa Museum of Art, and the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Her works are represented in public and private collections which include Crystal Bridges Museum of Art, the Denver Art Museum, the Nasher Museum of Art, the Tampa Museum of Art, the Joslyn Museum of Art, the Crocker Museum of Art, the Portland Museum of Art, and the University of Michigan Museum of Art. Suchitra received an MFA in painting and drawing and an MA in South Asian art from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia and is a recipient of an Anonymous Was a Woman Award (2023) and a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship (2024). Mattai is represented by Roberts Projects, Los Angeles.