Jas Dhillon

A gift more precious than… (2024)
Fresh fruit, found furniture, found objects, fabric, light, photography, sound, digital print on paper, jute

The exploration of the work is centred around an artillery trunk, similar to the one the artist’s grandfather acquired while serving in Burma with The Sikh Regiment of the British Army during World War II. Jas reflects on the continuous renewal of meaning attributed to objects throughout time. While the meaning of objects shifts over time, the artist is interested in how objects gain significance once people form connections with them and in stories that emerge out of these connections.

Jas has turned to literal storytelling to convey her ideas beyond visual narrative. Offering a fresh perspective on the physical environment, and evoking a romantic view for the rural Punjabi way of life, which is under attack from corporate and governmental policies.

The trunk and its contents symbolise the immense power of nature and the human spirit — their resilience, their capacity to transform pain into love, and their ability to turn waste into wonder.

“At its core this is a love story, seen through adult eyes, but told through the awe of a child. Take a seat, relax, and listen for a while…”

Credits:

Publication design and illustration, Alicia Fernandes; Photography and field recording, Rashpal Sharma (Happy Parji); Sound design, James Haynes; Punjabi narration and edits, Raghbir Singh Dhillon


Catching Feelings (2024)
wooden display cases, glass jars, paper labels, acrylic paint, permanent marker, paper, found objects.

Created with participants from workshops at The Beacon Community Mental Health Centre and Arts in Ramsgate, Catching Feelings draws inspiration from the ancient practice of food preservation—jarring items when they are abundant in nature so they can be enjoyed in later seasons.

Participants from the workshops were asked to recall a memory or imagine a future moment that brings them joy. These positive emotions could include excitement, contentment, peace, joy, happiness, pleasure, warmth, or awe—feelings they wish to experience more often, especially during challenging times. They were then invited to take their jars and labels home to spend more time developing their ideas and to collect meaningful objects from their lives. The wooden display is arranged to resemble a shrine, highlighting the preciousness of our feelings and memories.

Visitors are encouraged to pick up the jars, take a closer look, and reflect on the memories they would like to preserve for themselves.


In my own words… (2024)
furniture, ceramics, photocopies, print, flowers, biscuits. 

Based on the belief that conversation and connection can be transformative, and inspired by the sense of care and protection associated with sharing food around a kitchen table, this installation tenderly presents an anonymous exchange facilitated by Jas between staff and people that use the services at The Beacon Mental Health Day Centre.

The workshops took place over lunch, with food, coffee, and doughnuts, inviting participants to respond in their own words to a single question: if you could ask any questions or make any statements to members of staff or to the people that use the services at The Beacon, what would you ask?

The exchange concluded with sharing the responses and inviting participants to create a piece of physical art or submit a track to a playlist inspired by the process.

This installation showcases these elements, recognising that the primary artistry lies in the courageous sharing of personal expressions on such intimate aspects of life.

If you could ask a question or make a statement to the mental health services in your area, what would you ask?


Jas Dhillon (UK 1979) is an artist and artist-curator with a multi-disciplinary practice.  She uses her Punjabi, Sikh, Indian heritage, and a deep reverence for nature and spirituality, to create spaces for a tender and sensitive reflection on ideas of identity, rootedness and belonging. She works with objects, memories, stories, and feelings, to create spaces for thoughtful reflection and connection.

Jas is currently an artist in residence at People Dem Collective, and previously was part of the Autograph Gallery ‘PILOT’ mentoring programme. She also studied with Dr Vandana Shiva in India on her ‘Return to Earth: A-Z of Biodiversity’ programme.

Her recent projects include, a site-specific intervention in a Thanet cave, called ‘Home’ 2023, a light installation for the Glow Illumination trail 2022, curation of the Whitstable Biennale 2022 short film programme, co-curation and commissioning for the Estuary Festival 2021 opening weekend programme, a commission for Margate Now 2020.

She was granted Arts Council DYCP (Develop Your Creative Practice) funding in December 2022.