Hemi Bawaopens her digital show ‘Bodies of Light’ at Artspeaks India from the 22nd of November to 15th January, 2021
From 22nd November to 15th January, Artspeaks India is presenting Bodies of Light – a study in glass that diversifies the potential and power of art through the keen eyes of Hemi Bawa, a Delhi based multi disciplinary practitioner, whose works witnessed the passage of a full five decades. With the added brilliance of the interplay between glass and light, Bawa’s very own glass menagerie find themselves striking a delicate balance between adorable and striking. Contemporary global glass art meets this series head on as sculptures, paintings and mixed media get drenched in playful crafting in Bawa’s expert hands. She explores her artistic playground in this niche medium of glass casting, extending it further as she dabbles with her methods.
Bawa_Book: Hemi Bawa, Holy Book, Fused Sheet Glass on Wood, 12ʺ x 7ʺ x 7ʺ, 2020. All Images are Courtesy of the Artist and Artspeaks India.
Her objects radiate warm colours and a sense of tenacity as Bawa manages and in fact nurtures the balance between contrasts – liquid and solid, soft and hard, transparency and opacity, fragility and strength. It is the ruggedness and tenacity of the medium and its ability to trap light, that sustains Bawa’s passion for it. This series is a work of patient effort, as Bawa lends vibrance to her structures. She is the architect of this material exploration, creating resonance in a medium that requires utmost care in cutting, carving, glass casting, melting and giving them shape as her experiments are freed from the kiln.
Bawa_Move: Hemi Bawa, On the Move, Cast Glass, 8.4ʺ x 4ʺ, 2020. All Images are Courtesy of the Artist and Artspeaks India.
A seasoned veteran, and an esteemed member of the Padmashri hall of fame, Hemi Bawa’s sprinkle of newness into this series is remarkable, as her contemporary sensibilities are expressed. In Bodies of Light, as the sculptures squirm their way into one’s brain, they leave behind a sense of cotton candy dreaming married to high art. With the acumen of an alchemist (she is one, in many ways), she holds forward the series titled Torso, which further articulates the ‘human’essence in these bodies she has created, the glass reflecting their nature of openness and an equally restricted flow influenced by the pandemic.
Bawa_Nowhere: Hemi Bawa, Nowhere to go, Lockdown series, Recycled Crushed Glass, Part of Torso Installation, 2020. All Images are Courtesy of the Artist and Artspeaks India.
The Head series also imposes the idea of a more visual narrative, a story along with a steady expression of emotion. But there is a balance within. Asthe audience wonder about the refraction and reflection in the glass, they also know that the story is a lot more personal. Adoration and reconnoitre of the inside, lie firmly in front of Bawa’s work, reminding one of the warm afterglows of rain.
Bawa_Torso: Hemi Bawa, Torso, Crushed Glass (small) Recycled, 19ʺ x 11ʺ x 2ʺ. 2020. All Images are Courtesy of the Artist and Artspeaks India.
With more than five decades of artistic experience and wisdom, Hemi Bawa is currently occupying a distinct position in the modern art scene – not surprising, given her diverse oeuvre and commendable scholarship in her craft which has seen much more than revolutions. Moved by the interaction of colour, texture, light and form, Bawa transcends seamlessly between the heavier technical methodologies of glass casting and more meditative, resting processes of painting and mixed media layering. She valiantly says ‘I never set any limits to myself, I must do what my heart says’, as she patiently imagines the next experimental piece that just might put to test her mettle as an artist.