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Hema Upadhyay


Hema Upadhyay

Upadhyay’s works use two media, photography and painting. Her works often portray the idea of ‘home’ as a sense of dislocation with domestic references, where people are violently displaced. The narrative content of her works speak strongly in an urban and thoughtful voice. She incorporates her self image along with photographs in her works, in order to bring distortions to the reading imagery, thereby interfering with what she wants to communicate. Upadhyay pulls in varied and often contradictory directions in her works, attempting to reflect the inner state of dislocation. Her solo show Sweet Sweat Memories, Chemould Gallery, Mumbai (2001), was executed on large mixed media paper works. The show was inspired by the suicide committed by the artist’s neighbor as well as the confusion that arose in the urban sprawl due to the same.

The artist encapsulated these feelings affectively in her works. In the same year Upadhyay also showed her installation The Nymph and the Adult in Australia. She sculpted nearly 2000 life like cockroaches for the same. She infested the gallery with the sculpted nocturnal bugs in order to draw repulsion along with fascination from her viewers. The show raised several significant questions pertaining to survival. Her most recent work Underneath, Chemould Gallery, conjures up an image of a world that is mysterious, invisible and carries intimations about secrets and violence. Executed in gouache, acrylic, graphite and photographs on paper, her creative engagement with the hopes and exigencies of urban living made the works deeply introspective.