September 13, 2018

A sugar bound inspired soundtrack

Amazing art is even better with a soundtrack so we created our first ever Spotify playlist for Suchitra Mattai's sugar bound. Read on to learn more about the songs we chose and why.

By Grace Gutierrez


When I began installing Suchitra Mattai’s solo exhibition, sugar bound, on view at the CVA now until October 20, I was floored by the artist’s multifaceted work made with paint, drawing materials, fibers, threads, antique furniture, encyclopedias, projectors, mirrors – the list goes on and on. The diversity of the work inspired us at CVA to create a diverse Spotify music playlist to capture the many moods of sugar bound. The playlist, available on CVA’s Spotify page, is intended for listening before, during and after you experience sugar bound.

Click to listen to songs by Buena Vista Social Club, Vera Blue, Glass Animals, Tash Sultana, Ekali and Michael Jackson.

Much of the work in sugar bound explores of the meaning of home and a desire to belong. The show is inspired by her Indian-born family’s history serving as indentured servants in colonial Guyana. Songs included in the sugar bound playlist include artists who have struggled to feel at home within their surroundings and with themselves; songs that have fueled revolution and defiance of western colonialism; and songs that infuse good feelings to your otherwise mundane day. Mostly, these are songs that we think capture the overall vibe of sugar bound.   

The Guyanese artists featured on the playlist are mostly inspired by Bengali, Reggae, Afro-Cuban and Latin genres of music. Obi Agye Me Dofo by Vis-à-vis starts off the playlist with a vibrant Guyanese instrumental track. Thomas Mapfumo, a songwriter from Zimbabwe who defines the popular Chimurenga music (Chimurenga means “liberation”in Shona) is featured on track number 3. Mapfumo’s song, “Chinobhururuka Chinomhara,”  which represents the adage, “what goes around comes around,” was banned at one point by the British-controlled government in Zimbabwe. Mapfumo’s idea of keeping traditions strong even when under provincial rule sparked a connection for me between Chimurenga music and Mattai’s work.

I also asked Suchitra what music she thought goes with her exhibition, she described the aural aesthetic of sugar bound to be a mix of Bollywood music and Michael Jackson, so of course, both have been added to the playlist too.  

Modern tracks on the playlist include “Jungle” by Tash Sultand which I highly recommend listening to in the  Jungle room of the exhibition. Chelsea Wolfe’s “Flatlands”, a song describing a desire for life among nature and distance from material belongings is a beautiful, dark track good for viewing Border Crossings. “Restless Sea”, by Louis Futon and Opia is a good addition to the ambiance of the Sugar Water. “Hard Rain by Lykki Li is a great companion for viewing the gallery wall where the pieces like Calcutta, the monsoon revisited and Ineffable are on view. Finally, enjoy the overall vibes of the show with songs like “Poplar St.” by Glass Animals, “Empire Antz” by Gorillaz and “Settle” by Vera Blue.

Although we are the Center for Visual Art, sight isn’t the only sense deserving of attention during your visit. Give your ears some love with our sugar bound playlist on Spotify. Get hyped, stay for a while and leave dreaming of your euphoric adventure into the jungle with Suchitra Mattai’s sugar bound.


Article and playlist by Grace Gutierrez, CVA Gallery Assistant. Grace is a painter, photographer, food enthusiast and music maker. She likes exploring and trying new things, because life is great and full of strange and unusual things. She is currently attending MSU Denver, pursuing a BFA in painting.