The Common, Sosa Joseph's first solo exhibition at the gallery held in 2009, embodied images drawn from the world around her – mainly the graphic experience of coastal living in Kerala — through which she investigated the emotional and spatial qualities of her environment and that of her personal life. The scale and intention of her canvas expanded significantly in her subsequent exhibition Unspecified (2014), wherein Sosa addressed the complex cultural mix of Mattancherry — that populous enclave in Fort Cochin which has been the site of her studio for nearly two decades. Writer John Mathew Kodenkandath observes, "What strikes me first is the space. The artfulness in rendering it and peopling it with the veiled figures. While largely retaining a single-point perspective, the compositions seem to deconstruct the urban Mattancherry landscape and rearrange it into something of a fictional, parallel, otherworldly place”. It was a month-long residency on Shodoshima Island in Japan that marked a shift to a less sombre palette, beginning with paintings such as Dancers/Performers, Pietà and Your Earth My World, and most remarkably evident in the exhibition Where do we come from (2022) — a body of work in which she focused on the riverbank and the wetlands where she was born and raised.
"In every painting, the water moved differently. The way Joseph uses oil emulates the fluidity and transparency of watercolor. In Gift from the River I, 2021, the water was wide and sweeping, gliding into sky. The landscape presses itself upon the figures that inhabit it; people and animals are mostly outlines, almost transparent. Children hold hands as they move their feet in the riverbed; a low-slung canoe drifts past a swimmer’s bobbing head. The river is glassy, animated by shades of aquamarine and teal. A pineapple-yellow highlight errantly skates over the water: sunshine skimming the river’s surface.”
Excerpted from a review by Skye Arundhati Thomas for ARTFORUM, May 2022