Huma Bhabha

A rich theatre of reality, with material as its protagonist.

Huma Bhabha was born in 1962 in Karachi, Pakistan, and now lives and works in New York, USA.

Career

With an auction record in excess of $200,000 USD, the artist's works are featured in collections including Centre Pompidou, Paris; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York and the Hirshhorn in Washington, D.C. — where visitors can find We Come in Peace (2018) on view in the museum’s sculpture garden.

Did you know?

Robert Nava is one of many artists to cite Bhabha as a pivotal influence for their practice - “Huma is one of my favourite artists, her work is very powerful and soulful.”

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Collaborations with this artist

Practice overview

For three decades Huma Bhabha has created monumental figurations which question power structures of the human race. She embodies complex reflections on colonialism, memory and war through her hands-on and intuitive use of materials. While the artist considers herself primarily a sculptor, she also utilises drawing, printmaking, assemblage, painting, collage and photography. Bhabha’s style is defined by an archaic futurism: ancient sculptural forms doused in epic sci-fi cinematics. This sensibility is rooted in a wealth of influences, from ancient Greek Kouroi and Gandharan Buddhas, to 20th Century modernists like Giacometti and Picasso, and horror films by David Cronenberg from the 1980s.

Bhabha makes art a theatre of reality. The Company - her 2019 solo show at Gagosian in Rome - was based on The Lottery in Babylon written by Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges in 1941. The short story describes a society governed by a system that disciplines and compensates people at random, controlled by an elusive group called ‘the company.’ In the show Bhabha visualises this powerful group, who in a contemporary context are as likely to be algorithms as physical beings. Vivid pastel drawings with splashes of neon were displayed alongside monolithic figures, a pair of giant dismembered hands and a photomontage of an ancient Egyptian dog. Like the sci-fi tale, the fantasy characters subvert real conditions of power in their own commanding performance. With staunch originality, Bhabha steps back from our current moment to reveal a panoramic view of humanity’s histories, fantasies and futures.

“My goal is that each work should be intense in its presence.” Huma Bhabha