About the Artwork
Huma Bhabha’s ‘The Orientalist’ is cast in bronze, reminiscent in its authority of a king or deity. Traditional and futuristic, Bhabha’s regal figure is an impressive vision from a fictional history. The title of the work conveys ideas of exoticism, which contributes to this imagined narrative.
Humanised through exaggerated hands and feet and sympathetic cartoon styling, its powers waver between the comically surreal and powerful. The ambiguity of the figure impresses on the viewer the complexity of human nature – being both powerful and frail – and in this way is characteristic of Bhabha’s work. Formed from clay, chicken wire, Styrofoam and found objects that Bhabha skillfully manipulated into a fantastical figure before it was then cast in bronze, ‘The Orientalist’ is imbued with the touch of the artist.
Copyright the artist, courtesy of the artist and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London and Salon 94, New York Photo © Nick Turpin
180 x 84.5 x 112 cm