Tarshito stands like a colossus on the global art landscape with multi-faceted, cross-cultural artistic dialogues that never cease to amaze. For over forty-five years, in his prolific, sometimes simultaneous careers as an architect, artist, sculptor, gallerist, teacher and performer, Tarshito has revealed to the world a dazzling creative universe.
What sets Tarshito apart is his willingness to undertake collaborative projects across the globe with indigenous artists to create works that astound with their scale and ingenuity. Like a magician, Tarshito mixes materials and motifs, metaphor and meaning, constantly seeking to achieve with his collaborators a true jugalbandi (literally ‘entwined twins’ from musical duets), a coming together not just in terms of a physical artwork but also, a true melding of souls.
For Tarshito, the world is indeed ‘One Family’, an idea reiterated both in the way he seeks brotherhood and sisterhood with his collaborators worldwide and his works such as the borderless map series and the Warrior of Love assemblages. Be it in India, Nepal, Thailand, Brazil, Morocco, Bangladesh, Peru, China or Italy, his collaborations are conscious, built as much on relationships as creativity. Tarshito’s map inspired artworks made collaboratively with indigenous artists explore the physical and cultural geography he encounters while travelling across the globe. He began redrawing the world as he saw it, sans boundaries to highlight the importance of connection beyond time and place. Tarshito’s imagery of a connected and borderless world is perhaps fantastical but serves as a poignant reminder of how borders divide, especially in our strife-torn world.
Tarshito’s journey in life and his artistic oeuvre resembles the spiral vortex, which radiates out and draws in simultaneously, infinitely, and eternally. He draws from ancient traditions, revived by them at his core and in turn, revitalizing them through his artistic expressions. Tarshito is truly the seeker, attracting new adventures, and then with his collaborations worldwide, radiating a vision of beauty and humanity at its best.
In a world torn by strife and borders, Tarshito stands like a colossus, whose vision matches his ambition to celebrate brotherhood through artistic collaboration. His practice is a testament to cross-cultural exchange, a celebration of common humanity, and a deep respect for India’s cultural heritage, shaping his art and life profoundly.
Born in Italy, in 1952, Tarshito pursued architecture before his transformative journey to India in 1979. Since then, his extensive migratory pilgrimages across India ignited a passionate journey, nurturing a valuable repository of diverse Indian folk traditions and deep spiritual understanding, fostering close relationships with craftsmen and infusing new energy into indigenous practices and rare crafts. Amidst fading echoes of cultures lost to time, his sojourns have helped frame a critical archive.
This enigmatic figure forges a unique path, merging indigenous essence with contemporary expressions. His canvas is symbolic, a distinct vocabulary evolving through the medium of creativity — a gift, shared joyfully and generously, often in partnership with unacknowledged folk artists.
A Warrior of Love — he straddles continents in search of artistic inspiration and partnership, celebrating brotherhood. Hand-painting new geographies, he physically carries these borderless maps across continents to the remotest villages where he holistically collaborates with inheritors of a pre-modern past; his series of creating borderless maps and countries serves as an ode to a unified global community, transcending all boundaries.
In every way, each collaboration has turned out to be a celebration — a union of brotherhood, harmonising the diverse practices beyond binaries of folk and modern, contemporary and conceptual.
Over the last three decades, his behemoth engagement has carved a contemporary space for artisanal craft traditions within Indian modernity in an unparalleled scale — especially in the subcontinent, and in recent years, in Columbia, Uruguay, Argentina, Peru, Mexico and Myanmar.
Tarshito Nicola Strippoli was born in 1952, in Apulia, Italy. He is an architect, professor and artist, working between the East and the West on Spirituality, Creativity and Tradition. Tarshito graduated from the Faculty of Architecture in Florence with a thesis in street theater. Immediately afterwards he embarked on a journey to India where he met his teacher, Osho, who entrusted him with the name of Tarshito, meaning ‘thirst for inner knowledge’; hence, his use of meditation as a method of investigation and design.
From terracotta to iron works, from tribal paintings to Warli and Sohrai traditions, to embroideries from Gujarat and Rajasthan, from the delicate miniatures of Bikaner to the flamboyant devotional paintings of Orissa: the thirst for experimentation in ever-new relations of “creative sharing” knew no limits, whilst at the same time his desire grew for painting on his own, another way of testing himself onto the canvas as a gestural event.