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My art selected and published: ‘Summer in Agra’ in ‘La Raíz’ literary magazine

British Indian artist, Malti B Lee's original artwork, 'Summer in Agra' published in a local Silicon Valley-based literary magazine for poets and artists, 'La Raiz 2022', blog post by Malti B Lee

For as long as I remember, I have loved the sensory experience of opening up a freshly printed book or magazine. There’s something inexplicably wonderful about it… from the feel of the pages between your fingers, to the smell of the freshly printed press.

There’s something rather special about seeing your work in print

I’m so excited to now be a part of this long-standing print tradition. ‘Summer in Agra’, a piece near and dear to my heart, has been selected for publication in La Raíz Magazine 2022a local literary magazine.

Keep reading on…

The journey to getting published

Right at the start of my journey as a professional artist (about 6 months ago!), I spent time brainstorming ways of sharing my paintings with a wider audience. I wanted to find opportunities to connect with different people outside of the art festivals. As I considered potential avenues to explore, one that drew me in was print publications, e.g., literary books, journal, artist magazines etc.. However, with all things art career related, I just didn’t know where to start finding these opportunities!

Serendipitously, at that time, I met the poet, visual artist and editor, Elizabeth Jiménez Montelongo. She introduced me to a local, annual literary magazine, La Raíz Magazine, and suggested I submit my art for publication. It was the first application I’d written to have my work published, and I really didn’t know what to expect.

In the following days and weeks, I’d find my mind wandering to the application. I’d ask myself if the review panel will like my work; Would they understand the story behind my submission? Would the submitted photos be suitable for print? With the passage of time and as other priorities took up my headspace, I almost forgot about the application.

Many moons later, a notification popped up on my phone, subject line: “Your Art for La Raíz Magazine 2022”. I was so excited to learn that ‘Summer in Agra’ had been selected for publication from 175+ artwork submissions!

A look at the magazine

The cover of La Raíz Magazine 2022 featuring artwork from Sabrina Zarco
Find ‘Summer in Agra’ on p.31 alongside the poem entitled ‘porcelain dualities’ by Jacqueline Phạm

About La Raíz Magazine

La Raíz Magazine is a literary magazine that publishes visual art and poetry by community members, writers, and artists based in San José, California and Santa Clara County, while also welcoming work from our national and international community. La Raíz Magazine consciously creates space for the publication and presentation of creative work by people who identify as women, girls, and members of the global majority (people of colour); with an emphasis on work by people ​whose ​heritage is rooted in lands​ that are now Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, and South America, who may identify as: Indigenous, Chicana/o, or from their country of origin. Through our publication and events, we hope to promote inclusion, empathy, and connection.

Mission: La Raíz Magazine provides culturally relevant, generative arts engagement experiences; opportunities for the publication, promotion, and public presentation of creative work by diverse communities; and inclusive, interactive spaces that promote community-building. 

About the painting

I still remember the intense feelings I experienced the first time I saw the Taj Mahal in person. Would this wonder live up to expectations? I’d heard the story a thousand times – the grieving Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan created the most beautiful mausoleum in memory of his wife. The sweat and blood that went into constructing this masterful example of Indo-Islamic architecture.

As I caught my first glimpse, I knew this was somewhere special. Walking up to this tomb, I was caught off-guard by the intricacies and detailing of all the walls and ceilings. Simply breath-taking. Years on, I still have a sense of awe every time I think this majestic icon of India.

California based contemporary artist holding her original artwork entitled 'Summer in Agra', created in acrylic on stretched canvas of orange trumpet flowers against a green hued abstract background with a detailed line illustration of the Taj Mahal in Agra, India
‘Summer in Agra’, acrylic on canvas, 24 x 20″, 2022, ‘Lost in Colour’ collection

As a nod to my Indian heritage, I decided to feature architecture from India in my ‘Lost in Colour’ collection.

Colour: In this first painting featuring an icon from India, I chose to feature colours of the Indian flag – green, white and orange.

Architecture: The Taj Mahal with its intricately carved facades seemed like a no brainer for me. I have long been fascinated by the geometric patterns and intricate details that recur in Islamic art and architecture. Over time, these interests have been reinforced by my time exploring cities with Islamic architecture, including the South of Spain and beyond.

Flowers: I knew I wanted orange flowers in this painting, and as I brainstormed option, I recalled these orange trumpet flowers that grew in a relative’s garden.

As you look at this painting, I hope you find moments of joy and wonder as I combine the natural – in the orange trumpet flowers – with the urban – details of the Taj Mahal in the beating heart of Agra, India.

Available prints of ‘Summer in Agra’

Whilst the original painting has found it’s forever home, limited edition canvas prints and open edition prints on paper are available. Take your pick.

As I continue to work towards getting my work in front of new audiences, I hope you’ll take a moment to leave me a comment and celebrate this little win with me.

Celebrating every win where I can!

Want to see more of what I’m working on? Follow my latest on Instagram.

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