Huma Bhabha

by Sam Jones

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“Carriage,” (2014). Clay, wood, cork, wire, styrofoam, leaf, paper, oilstick, acrylic paint. 64.5 x 25 x 41 inches. Courtesy Salon 94, New York.

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“Against What? Against Whom?,” (2014). Cork, styrofoam, wood, acrylic paint, oilstick. 95 x 36 1/2 x 24 inches. Courtesy Salon 94, New York.

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“Atlas,” (2015). Rubber tires, metal. 18 x 40 inches. Courtesy Salon 94, New York.

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“Friend,” (2015). Painted bronze. 83.75 x 37.25 x 5.8 inches. Courtesy Salon 94, New York.

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“Privileged Attendant,” (2015). Cork, wood, acrylic paint, oil stick, cardboard. 16 3/4 x 14 1/2 x 70 1/4 inches. Courtesy Salon 94, New York.

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“Untitled,” (2015). Marker, dust, acrylic, paint, tape on paper. 71 1/8 x 156 1/8 inches. Courtesy Salon 94, New York.

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“Untitled,” (2015). Ink and collage on color photograph. 80 x 50 inches. Courtesy Salon 94, New York.

Huma Bhabha

“Art has always been a response to circumstances, whether in one’s own situation or in the world as a whole”*—Where contemporary artist Huma Bhabha sits across from her interview with Art in America

Pakistani artist Huma Bhabha’s sculptures are assembled from found materials which she couples with paint and clay to create objects that straddle the line between the tangible and the abstract. Rather than merely forging a new identity for these materials, she pastes them into entirely new schemata, where the discarded was “never lost,”

*.1

but was merely temporarily misplaced. Bhabha has accumulated numerous accolades, with both group and solo shows at MoMA PS1, a Berlin Prize, and a fellowship at the American Academy in Berlin. Her work has also been included in major art fairs like the 2012 Paris Triennale and the 2015 Venice Biennale.

Today Flaunt speaks to Bhabha in a digital approximation of her erstwhile physical form.

What draws you to using detritus as material for your sculptures?

It’s free and can be almost anything, and it’s exciting to give something new life or be part of something that deals with rejuvenation.

How do you find beauty in things that are discarded?

Finding a new use for something discarded in my work makes it beautiful for me and to quote Arundhati Roy: “But beauty can arrive uninvited can it not? It can fall upon things unexpectedly, like sunlight stealing through a chink in the curtains.”*.2

What are some of your biggest inspirations? Do they come from the world around you, or other artists?

I would say both... I’m inspired by art, nature and what’s happening in the world, almost everything I encounter is a possible source of inspiration.

How does your Pakistani identity manifest in your works?

The physical reality of the landscape in and around the city of Karachi where I grew up has a strong presence in my work, and otherwise I am just an artist.

“What led you to start drawing on photographs?”*.3

A lot of thinking and looking.

Please describe your studio/your ideal studio.

My present studio is quite ideal. It’s approximately 1800 square feet, well lit, has beautiful yellow ceramic bricks covering the floor and walls, two garage doors and a drain in the center of the floor, it’s the ground floor of an old firehouse.

*Stillman, S. “Huma Bhabha,” Art in America, November 2010.

*.1Associated Press. “Anthony Crolla never lost hope of winning WBA world title after injury,” Guardian, November 2015.

*.2Roy, A. “The Briefing,” Outlook, July 2008.

*.3Art in America, November 2010. † Original question read: Is there a specific process you follow before creating a sculpture? 

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