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Pollock's Toy Museum Artist Residency Programme: Toy Theatre Focus


Current Artist: Vaishali Prazmari


Artwork by Vaishali Prazmari

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1001 Nights Toy Theatre

For her residency at Pollock’s Toy Museum Vaishali Prazmari is making a toy theatre for the 1001 Nights. She focuses in particular on Pollocks’ amazing historic collections of toy theatres and archives. Variously known as model theatres, miniature theatres or paper theatres, toy theatres hold a special place in her heart as paper and stories come to life. She is using her miniature manuscript painting training in combination with Pollock’s toy theatre expertise to make a theatre for the 1001 Nights that will contain the potential for all 1001 stories.


Although popular stories associated with the Nights such as Aladdin and Ali Baba were firmly placed in the toy theatre tradition, attempting to encompass all 1001 tales is to our knowledge something that has not been done before. Vaishali believes that Indo-Persian miniatures inspired many of the golden age illustrators of the Arabian Nights and she marries the knowledge of this unique painting tradition with the toy theatre tradition to create her own hybrid, updated form.


She is very excited to be combining several of her interests in this piece and residency which will culminate in making her unique wooden toy theatre and designing smaller published paper versions for you to make at home in both black and white and full colour, in the old style of ‘a penny plain and tuppence coloured’. 


About Vaishali

Vaishali Prazmari’s work incorporates elements from various cultures including the Indo-Persian miniatures and Chinese painting of her heritages as well as oil painting. She sees this Silk Road cultural richness as a gold mine. Vaishali channels master tea blenders while she works, mixing ancient and modern elements to create new blends with the best vehicle for this transmission: the endlessly fascinating gloopy coloured mud that is paint. Her work also extends beyond the margins of painting into other materials and processes filtered through the lens of painting. Her current practice-led PhD at the Slade focuses on the 1001 Arabian Nights.


Having been immersed in the ancient traditions of Chinese painting and miniature painting combined with her formal training in oil painting as well as in today's contemporary art she is now working towards a practice-led PhD, again at the Slade, painting 1001 paintings generated by the 1001 Arabian Nights. She has been painting ever since she could get her chubby hands on a brush. Vaishali used to make toy theatres as a little girl and is fascinated by the feelings of wonder and power children have in small world play. A small child at heart herself, she also loves toys in general and what Virginia Woolf described as the ‘cathedral of childhood’. 



Born in London, Vaishali has lived on two continents (two islands) and currently lives and works in London. Vaishali holds a BA from the Slade School of Fine Art, an MA from the Prince’s School of Traditional Arts and an MA in Medieval and Renaissance Studies (UCL) specializing in floating islands. She studied Persian and Indian miniature painting under various masters and Chinese painting under a master in Hong Kong. Recent 2022 exhibitions include Kalila wa Dimna: Ancient Tales for Troubled Times, P21 Gallery, London and I-solation Project Series: RECONTACT, Ankara and upcoming exhibitions include Carpet Pages V: Code. 

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