The Perfume Library and late artist Hema Upadhyay distill art into a new fragrance


The Perfume Library and late artist Hema Upadhyay distill art into a new fragrance

This fragrance is unlike any other!

By Mamta Mody  February 24th, 2016

For perfumer Jahnvi Dameron Nandan of The Perfume Library distilling people’s most loved memories into a perfume has inspired a series of artisanal fragrances. But when it came to translating the late contemporary artist Hema Upadhyay’s 2002 artwork ‘This Space In Between You & Me’, it took a good three years, and led to several conversations about life and a lasting friendship.

Dameron Nandan first saw this installation in Paris in 2011, where Upadhyay had planted seeds in freshly-tilled soil. The plants bloomed to spell a letter to her mother; it stood as a metaphor for migration and the distance between loved ones. So when they first started working on the fragrance, Dameron Nandan went for fresh grassy notes to represent the earthiness of Upadhyay’s ‘letter garden’. “I wanted Hema to smell it so we met at a sushi place in Saint Germain and that’s when we began talking about our lives and realised how we needed each other,” she says. Over the years, their conversations added several layers to the fragrance, which became more than just an interpretation of the artwork. Upadhyay suggested bergamot for its freshness and unisex characteristics, some woody notes were added to represent the forested area surrounding her house in France and tulsi for its green and androgynous feel. 

“It was interesting to see that two women were making a fragrance that became more and more masculine,” reflects Dameron Nandan. “It was a time when we both needed strength in our personal lives and our perfume was becoming stronger as an expression – we added all the things that make us feel good.” The fragrance (named after her work ‘This Space In Between You & Me’) was completed around two weeks before Upadhyay passed away, in December 2015. Now it’s more than just a reinterpretation of the artwork; the fresh, unisex fragrance perfectly captures the essence of the lives of the creators.

This Space In Between You & Me is available at The Perfume Library outlets. ThePerfumeLibrary.com 

Photographs: Sachin Soni (still); Hema Upadhyay/Chemould Prescott Road, Mumbai (art)