Artist Interview: Alice Bajaj on the 2021 Big Walls & Windows Project

by Cass Art

The Big Walls and Windows Project 2021, sponsored by Liquitex and Cass Art, is an opportunity for students at Central Saint Martins and Camberwell College of Arts to make temporary artworks at each site, on a scale that would normally be prohibitive due to material and equipment costs.

Selected from a panel of judges for the Central Saint Martins project, Alice Bajaj, CSM BA Fine Art 4D student, is an Artist whose work predominantly focuses on installations that simulate past private experiences, such as psychosis and self-isolation. Having previously worked with video and animation, Bajaj’s work is concerned with the ways in which ‘Écriture Féminine’ can give insight into individual experiences, transcending the limitations of patriarchal language through its experimentation, and disjointed narratives.

For the Project, Bajaj brings together silhouette motifs of the people seen around the CSM building and surrounding areas, symbolising different identities and styles of the students, staff and members of the public that circulate. Using spiders alongside these silhouettes, inspired work such as Louise Bourgeois’ Maman and Kathy Acker’s pseudonym of The Black Tarantula, Bajaj explores the comforting passive matriarchy of the spider in the history of feminist artworks. With 2020 denying communal rites of passages, graduating and turning a year older from her bedroom, Bajaj explored the possibility of sharing individual experiences and connecting through our own myths, creating narratives that mobilise and form emotional bonds.

Watch the video below to hear Alice discuss her project with the panel of judges and read on as we catch up with Alice to find out how she tackled the installation step by step.

Hi Alice! Congratulations again on being selected for the 2021 Big Walls and Windows Project in Central Saint Martins. You’ve now completed the installation, how did you find the experience and were there any big challenges?

Hi, thank you, the process was initially daunting because of the large scale and how important the project was to me. As it progressed, I relaxed into the process.

Can you tell us how you tackled the project step by step?

Initially I rolled out the rolls of paper, taped them to the floor and watered down the surfaces, as I would prime using watercolours. I did this to limit the warping of the paper from the ink.

Then I worked on the background of the piece, mixing reds, purples and blues together, with different mediums of gloss and matte I worked the colours into each other – creating bubbles.

For the white figures and outlines I pre-planned the work on my computer, outlining figures of people around CSM and drawing the spider creatures. From there I stuck the paintings onto the wall outlining projections using paint pens.

Finally I filled in the white figures with gouache and 3 layers of white soft body acrylic white. 

What are your final thoughts on the project? How has it helped you to develop as an artist?

Seeing the work up in the windows in front of CSM is both fulfilling, in completing the project, and my degree, as it was my dream to study here. I hope that working on this large scale project shows my capabilities when working on future exhibitions.

And finally, what’s next for you?

I am going to start my Masters in Contemporary Art Practice at the RCA. I have my website, www.alicebajaj.com, and my Instagram @alicebajaj

See Alice’s Big Walls and Windows installation is on display at The Crossing, Central Saint Martins, 1 Granary Square, London N1C 4AA until 20th September 2021.


Feeling inspired?

Read our interview with Sarah Savage, selected for the Camberwell College of Arts Big Walls and Windows project on the Cass Art Blog.

Image credits: Photography @petercattrellphotography. Video editing by Mahesh Menon.

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