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Ruby C. Tut

Ruby C. Tut is an artist whose art was recently featured at the Asian Art Museum in the Into View: New Voices, New stories exhibition. This exhibition features art by fourteen contemporary artists who incorporated ideas of mythology, history, and identity into their work. The piece by Tut in this exhibition is named Heroine (b. India, 1895) and depicts a scene from a Punjabi tale. 

Born in the state of Punjab in India, Tut never really considered being an artist, even when growing up in a family that understands the importance of art. She attended the University of California, Los Angeles, where she majored in evolutionary and ecological biology with a minor in South Asian studies. Tut said, “During my process of applying for public health jobs in the Bay Area, I began a studio practice, which in a few years evolved into receiving traditional art training and building my artistic voice and practice.” 

Tut strongly believes in storytelling throughout her art, as it reflects one’s identity and background. Her goal is to use both the traditional 18th century painting techniques that she is trained in and the methodology. Even Tut’s materials follow the Indian traditional techniques, with paints, paintbrushes, and paper that she all made herself. First, she draws a base and transfers it from a lined blueprint on butter paper to hemp paper. Then, she performs three rounds of painting, adding details with a two-haired tip brush. 

All of her art has a lot of meaning behind it, which is delibrate. She typically paints women that represent her and who she wants to be. For instance, many recent pieces have included pregnant women, as she just had given birth to her children during the pandemic. “Through the more difficult days, I witnessed a boiling over of collective frustration and protest against disparities and brutalities put forth in the mainstream by social movements like Black Lives Matter, the efforts against caste discrimination in the US, and response to hate crimes against AAPI community members. As a result, the characters created in my paintings last year are dominated by anger, frustration, isolation, endurance, and determination,” Tut stated. While some of the women appear to be in danger, this does not mean that they are weak. To Tut, they refer to earlier generations of women who still carry contemporary significance. 

Ruby C. Tut uses her art as a way of showing who she is with the rest of the world without words.

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