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Descendant of royal silversmiths joins Design Crafts team at DMU

Award-winning contemporary artist, silversmith and jeweller Rajesh Gogna has joined the teaching ranks at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU), to take Design Crafts from strength to strength.

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Rajesh will help to build on the course’s most recent success at the influential New Designers exhibition, where DMU scooped the coveted Best Stand Award and graduate Alice Funge won two awards for her ceramic bakeware collection.

He has over 20 years of experience as a contemporary craft practitioner and educator, as well as being a freeman of The Goldsmiths' Company.

His work has featured in prestigious collections and galleries, including Christie’s London, Koldinghus Museum in Denmark, 13th Silver Triennial in Germany, Beyond Materials in Bangkok, Side by Side-Edge to Edge in Finland and Design Festival at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum.

Commanding interest from a worldwide audience, Rajesh will share his expertise with students at DMU, while introducing them to his extensive networks.

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Silver Speaks

He said: “I’m looking forward to teaching across all three years of the Design Crafts course and am very keen to highlight to students that there’s a big market out there for their work in this collecting world that we live in.

“Having experienced firsthand how life-changing winning awards early on in your career can be, I’ll be encouraging students to challenge themselves and get as much exposure during their time at DMU as possible.

“Ultimately, I want to help students become more aspirational and self-fulfilling in terms of carving out a career for themselves nationally, but also internationally.”

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The fourth generation of goldsmith/silversmith in his family, Rajesh uses traditional handcrafted techniques to create one-off pieces of functional and sculptural collectable art objects.

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Unzipped

“As a descendant of the Rajput cast who have been goldsmiths/silversmiths to the royal families in India’s Rajastan since the late 1800s, I am definitely defined by my background,” said Rajesh.

“Yet my modern and minimalist style is not tied to a particular culture. Instead, I see my work as contemporising the ancient craft of silversmithing.”

Rajesh is particularly taken with his new base at DMU, the landmark Vijay Patel building which brings the university’s art and design courses together under one roof.

He said: “The Vijay Patel building really has the wow factor. It sends out a strong message that art and design is really valued here, as well as inspiring students to make a success of their experience.

“I’m also very impressed by the Artists in Residence scheme that Design Crafts at DMU offers. This year we are supporting five graduates to further develop their craft, while they in turn share their skills and experience with current students.”

Another reason that Rajesh chose DMU is his desire to pursue a PhD, saying: “As well as making aesthetically pleasing objects, I’ve always been interested in functionality and the journey/research behind it that is invisible to the public.

“I believe DMU has the necessary facilities to support me in becoming more experimental and giving something back to the craft as well.”
Rajesh’s work is showcased in the permanent collections of the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery and Cartwright Hall in Bradford.

Posted on Monday 14th August 2017

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