Weaving big dreams

CREATIVE EXCELLENCE

Unusual:Sculptors on display

Padma Shri Award winner Hemi Bawa is all set to display her artwork in the Capital.

The show will comprise of 30 exhibits by Hemi which include cast glass, paintings and sculptures and is a collateral event of India Art Fair 2012. The show will be on till January 28 at The Atrium, DLF Emporio, Vasant Kunj.

In the canvases that Hemi paints, the emphasis is on the celebration of colour and form; in fact there is a graphic quality which is evident in the paintings. There is a two dimensional style on the surface, while bold assertive strokes apply the paint onto the canvas. The paintings do not necessarily have a figurative, representational quality, or a visible Indian thematic aspect to them, and perhaps that is the reason that they do not automatically fall into the genre of being ‘Indian’.

“I am only interested in future because that is where I am going to spend the rest of my life,’ I read these beautiful lines recently. They have stuck in my mind because that is how I feel,” says Hemi. The past, tradition and heritage seem to have little meaning in her life – and in her art. “I have no tradition in me,” she points out.

The conferral in 2009 of the Padma Shri, awarded by the Government of India to recognise distinguished contribution in various spheres of activity, was a turning point in Hemi’s career, and she considers it one of the major achievements in her life, both as an artist and a woman. She says, “I think getting my award from the President of India was an acknowledgement of a lot of people around me. I thought it was great that people noticed and appreciated my work so I feel that it’s quite an achievement.” Her entire family turned out to celebrate this major event and she described the day as ‘magnificent’, a really special moment in her career.

Hemi’s struggle as an artist has been a bit unusual. “At home I had to camouflage my passion and ambition for my art and in the art field I had to camouflage where I came from – my home and family” She was often quizzed by many in her social circle “When do you paint? Why did you get into glass casting, such a laborious process?” But the Padma Shri has put an end to this particular challenging aspect of her life.

There are many facets to the glasswork that Hemi creates. The flexibility of glass as a material means that you can cast it, fuse it, slump it, and any other number of processes. Temperatures vary for the different processes and also create different textures, forms and colours in the glass.

A combination of these techniques gives Hemi’s work a unique edge. The casting of glass is done primarily through the cire perdue or the ‘lost wax’ technique. As well as clay, materials such as silica are used for the moulds because of their heat resistant properties. Glass casting is still very rare in India, but in the early years of Hemi’s career, it was practically unheard of.

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