Biography of Huma Bhabha
A truly unique artist, Huma Bhabha draws from comic books, science fiction movies and African masks to bewitch her viewers with eerie, compelling melds of animal and human figures, both through the mediums of print and sculpture. Working with materials ranging from Styrofoam to wood to clay, Huma Bhabha reworks the familiarity of everyday objects into creepy inventions, making her a stand-out artist since the 1990s.
Born in Karachi Pakistan in 1962, Huma Bhabha emigrated to the USA in the 1980s, where she would make a name for herself, and where she remains today. With Huma Bhabha’s mother being an artist herself, and her father equally having a keen interest in art, the Bhabha household was filled with art books. Both parents actively encouraged their daughter to draw, to paint, and to pursue an artistic career. In 1981 Huma Bhabha left Pakistan to study print making at the Rhode Island School of Design and would later complete a Master of Fine Art at Columbia University. Whilst the artist has since this time lived in New York State, she has maintained strong ties to her native Pakistan and returns there annually to visit.
While at Columbia Huma Bhabha began working as an assistant to the prolific neo-geometric conceptual artist Meyer Vaisman, claiming herself that this was far more valuable than any art education. Working with him, she got to observe how a professional artist worked, attend gallery openings, and mingle with New York’s vibrant art scene. It was around this time too that Huma Bhabha obtained her own studio near Canal Street. In this studio, she began to experiment with sculpture more explicitly—using plastics, foam, rubber, spray paint, even feathers… The artist explains that all of this was pure trial and error, but that by 1992 she was certain that this was where she wanted to take her artistic career.
In 2007, Huma Bhabha’s interest in photography and print making picked up again. After a trip to Pakistan where she had taken a large number of photographs, she took them to back to her studio and began to experiment with enlarging them and drawing over them. It was at this time as well that she started exploring in particular the infinite possibilities of the medium of photogravure, which she still employs today.
Huma Bhabha’s work has been exhibited in some of the world’s most renowned institutions, such as the National Gallery and the Royal Academy of Arts in London, UK, the MoMA and MoMA PS1 in New York, USA, and the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. In 2015, she participated in the 56th Venice Biennale. She has just recently been commissioned to create a site-specific installation for the Metropolitan Museum of Art Roof Garden, which will be on show from April 2018.