Biennale of Sydney

Huma Bhabha

Left to Right: Huma Bhabha, 'The Past is a Foreign Country', 2019; 'Waiting for Another Game', 2018; and 'God of Some Things', 2011. Installation view for the 22nd Biennale of Sydney (2020), Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. Presented at the 22nd Biennale of Sydney with generous support from Anonymous, and assistance from Salon 94, New York and the United States Government. Courtesy the artist and Salon 94, New York. Photograph: Zan Wimberley.
Huma Bhabha, 'The Hood Maker', 2019. Installation view for the 22nd Biennale of Sydney (2020), Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. Presented at the 22nd Biennale of Sydney with generous support from Anonymous, and assistance from Salon 94, New York and the United States Government. Courtesy the artist and Salon 94, New York. Photograph: Alex Robinson
Huma Bhabha, 'The Past is a Foreign Country', 2019. Installation view for the 22nd Biennale of Sydney (2020), Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. Presented at the 22nd Biennale of Sydney with generous support from Anonymous, and assistance from Salon 94, New York and the United States Government. Courtesy the artist and Salon 94, New York. Photograph: Alex Robinson
Left to Right: Huma Bhabha, 'The Hood Maker', 2019; 'Waiting for Another Game', 2018; 'The Past is a Foreign Country', 2019; 'Roxana', 2018; and 'God of Some Things', 2011. Installation view for the 22nd Biennale of Sydney (2020), Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. Presented at the 22nd Biennale of Sydney with generous support from Anonymous, and assistance from Salon 94, New York and the United States Government. Courtesy the artist and Salon 94, New York. Photograph: Zan Wimberley.
Huma Bhabha, 'Waiting for Another Game', 2018. Installation view for the 22nd Biennale of Sydney (2020), Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. Presented at the 22nd Biennale of Sydney with generous support from Anonymous, and assistance from Salon 94, New York and the United States Government. Courtesy the artist and Salon 94, New York. Photograph: Alex Robinson

Huma Bhabha

Born 1962 in Karachi, Pakistan
Lives and works in Poughkeepsie, New York


"Bludgeoned surface fetish, raw materials of new idols: golem, adobe clay, wire, foam, cork, bones, mud, dead roots, blown-out tires, alchemy of refuse (Shaman) … Christ was a bum … new religious art built from humble cast-off materials, collage (Kathy Acker) creates crime scene, Bernini corpse stirring in Vermeer light, mythological guardians sculpted in relief and in the round, models for monuments never to be built … become sleeping gods waiting to wake up to a New World!"

Huma Bhabha’s towering, fantastical figures come from deep imagination, taking the form of commanding apocalyptic hybrids. The works reference ancient Greek kouroi (sculptures of nude male youths), Gandharan buddhas (produced between the 1st century BCE and the 7th century CE in present-day Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan), African sculpture and Egyptian pharaohs. Bhabha’s figures emanate colonialism, war, displacement and memories of place. They may even represent border conflict or the guardians who transcend or witness such activity.

Using found materials and the detritus of everyday life, Huma Bhabha creates haunting human figures that hover between abstraction and figuration, monumentality and entropy. While her formal vocabulary is distinctly her own, Bhabha embraces a post-modern hybridity that spans centuries, geography, art-historical traditions and cultural associations. Her work includes references to ancient sculptural traditions and at the same time, it remains insistently modern, looking to Giacometti, Picasso and Dubuffet for inspiration, as well as the artwork of Louise Bourgeois, A.R. Penck, Georg Baselitz and David Hammons. Sci-fi, horror movies, current events and popular novels similarly find their way into her narratives.

Presented at the 22nd Biennale of Sydney with generous support from Anonymous, and assistance from Salon 94, New York and the United States Government
Courtesy the artist and Salon 94, New York

Exhibited Artwork

Huma Bhabha, Waiting for Another Game, 2018, cork, Styrofoam, wood, acrylic, oil stick. Presented at the 22nd Biennale of Sydney with generous support from Anonymous, and assistance from Salon 94, New York and the United States Government. Courtesy the artist and Salon 94, New York

Photograph: Ken Leanfore, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia

Location: Museum of Contemporary Art Australia

Huma Bhabha, Roxana, 2018, wood, clay, wire, steel, plastic mesh, paintbrush, acrylic paint, oil stick. Presented at the 22nd Biennale of Sydney with generous support from Anonymous, and assistance from Salon 94, New York and the United States Government. Courtesy the artist and Salon 94, New York

Photograph: Alex Robinson

Location: Museum of Contemporary Art Australia

Huma Bhabha, The Hood Maker, 2019, cork, Styrofoam, acrylic, oil stick. Presented at the 22nd Biennale of Sydney with generous support from Anonymous, and assistance from Salon 94, New York and the United States Government. Courtesy the artist and Salon 94, New York

Photograph: Alex Robinson

Location: Museum of Contemporary Art Australia

Huma Bhabha, The Past is a Foreign Country, 2019, wood, cork, Styrofoam, acrylic, oil stick, wire, skull, shredded tyre tread. Presented at the 22nd Biennale of Sydney with generous support from Anonymous, and assistance from Salon 94, New York and the United States Government. Courtesy the artist and Salon 94, New York

Photograph: Alex Robinson

Location: Museum of Contemporary Art Australia

Huma Bhabha, God of Some Things, 2011, bronze with patina, edition 3 of 3, 2 APs. Presented at the 22nd Biennale of Sydney with generous support from Anonymous, and assistance from Salon 94, New York and the United States Government. Courtesy the artist and Salon 94, New York

Photograph: Alex Robinson

Location: Museum of Contemporary Art Australia