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

Artist Biography

Huma Bhabha

Huma Bhabha (b. 1962 in Karachi, Pakistan), now lives and works in Poughkeepsie, New York. Bhabha is a sculptor first and foremost. Her poetic assemblages are born out of tactile materials such as Styrofoam, air-dried clay, wire, cork and scraps of construction material. Often referred to as ‘post-apocalyptic’ in their aesthetic, these works combine figuration with abstract architectural elements and a sense of landscape. Informed by a vast array of cultural references, from the cinematography of 1979 sci-fi classic “Stalker” to the architecture of Cambodia’s ancient temples at Angkor Wat, Bhabha’s work transcends a singular time and place. Instead, these strands come together in a highly personal exploration of what the artist describes as the ‘eternal concerns’ found across all cultures: war, colonialism, displacement and memories of home. Year: 2007