A public garden & cultural center

Huma Bhabha

Outcasts: Women in the Wilderness
Glyndor Gallery | April 8–July 9, 2017

Pictured above:
Untitled, 2014
Ink on color photograph
Courtesy of Salon 94, New York, NY

While Huma Bhabha is known for her figurative sculptures, she was trained in painting and printmaking and has been working with photography. Her reworked photographs, taken by the artist in her native Karachi, Pakistan, present a destabilized documentary tradition. Using her personal and often fanciful touch to alter images of ravaged landscapes, Bhabha inserts a human presence into these bleak, abandoned scenes.

Remarking on how her work relates to the exhibition’s theme, Bhabha says, “I can see how many of my figures could be seen as outcasts who have literally been left out in the wilderness and have been ravaged by time and nature. For me, landscape is very important; in particular, the landscape of Karachi, where I grew up, has been very influential in the way my work has developed. The history of Pakistan is a story of colonialism gradually breaking the back of a culture and of corruption filling the void that was created; despite this, life goes on amid the chaos and dysfunction.”

Discussing the political nature of her work, she says, “As a citizen I am deeply disturbed by recent events, but as an artist I feel all I can do is bear witness. I’m not an activist; I am inspired by activists, but ultimately my job is a solitary one and is informed by history and materials.”

Huma Bhabha’s poetic assemblages are born out of tactile materials such as Styrofoam, air-dried clay, wire, cork and scraps of construction material. Informed by a vast array of cultural references, from the cinematography of the1979 sci-fi classic "Stalker" to the architecture of Cambodia’s ancient temples at Angkor Wat, her work transcends time and place. Bhabha’s pastel-on-paper works are largely composed of portraits and articulate the artist’s painterly skill. In her reworked photographs, taken by Bhabha in her native Karachi in southern Pakistan, the artist undermines the documentary tradition with a darker, personal and often fantastical dimension. Notable solo exhibitions include: MoMA PS1;Maramotti Collection, Reggio Emilia, Italy; Aspen Art Museum,CO; and the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, CT.

Learn more about the artist here

Support for the Visual Arts Program is provided by the Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc.; Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation; the National Endowment for the Arts; New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; New York Community Trust Edward and Sally Van Lier Fund; New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; The Pollock-Krasner Foundation; The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation; and by the Cathy and Stephen Weinroth Commissioning Fund for the Arts.