Last week, Huma Bhabha's roof garden commission opened at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden in New York City. Titled "We Come in Peace," the commission marks the museum's sixth site-specific installation and will be on view through Oct. 28.
Based in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., Bhabha took inspiration from Robert Wise's 1951 sci-fi film The Day the Earth Stood Still. Bhabha's roof garden commission, according to the Met, invites visitors to "envision tales of foreign visitation."
The installation features two cast bronze sculptures: "We Come in Peace," a 12-foot-tall five-head intersex standing figure and "Benaam (Urdu word for nameless)," an 18-foot-long prostrate sculpture. Using impermanent materials such as air-dried clay, cork, plastic, and styrofoam, Bhabha handcrafted the artworks to scale before casting them in bronze. Traces of ancient African and Indian motifs are also recognizable in this installation. "The works retain the look of their original materials but now exude an endurance, their distressed, afflicted bodies speaking the common language of life's precariousness as well as of survival," according to a news release. This is not the first time Bhabha's work has delineated notions of pain and survival. Her works address a variety of subjects, including war and displacement, colonialism, and memories of place.
Bhabha uses materials and the detritus of everyday life, she creates haunting human figures that hover between abstraction and figuration, monumentality and entropy. https://t.co/w7Kt5a5Aw9 #CantorRoof pic.twitter.com/f4dtg15cOf— The Met (@metmuseum) April 16, 2018
Bhabha's work has been featured in a variety of exhibitions, including for MoMA PS1 in New York, the 56th International Art Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia in Italy, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland in Ohio. She is the 2008 recipient of the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum Emerging Artist Award and the 2013 winner of the Berlin Prize, Guna S. Mundheim Fellowship in the Visual Arts from the American Academy in Berlin.