Leading Indian glass artist Hemi Bawa, who has been working with the medium for the last two decades, is back with a new solo show "Glass Dimension".
The glass sculptures, which comments on social and natural realities, allows play of artificial and natural light through transparent surfaces and complex textures copper and fired pigments.
“My medium is primarily glass though I combine it with metal, wood, pigments and cast iron. It's a wonderful medium though tough to handle," Bawa told this writer at the opening of the show.
Most of the works are in series. A four-part bust profile of Indian soldiers made of fibre glass painted black stands out for its play of light on the surface and the expressions of pride, patriotism, suffering and courage on their faces, sharply etched.
"The works reflect my thought process and how I relate to the environment I live in," said Bawa, who spent nearly three years putting the show together. The artist, unlike many of her contemporaries who have switched over to large format works to express their creativity more effectively, have used both small and medium frames to create complex patterns of figures and surreal forms that are detailed.
Two more series -- "In My Space" that is in two parts and "Man in his Space", in three parts -- painted on copper bases fired with glass and pigments are vivid in their colour palette on the glass surface.
"Tsunami", a wooden Kerala boat carrying a crew of distorted glass human heads -- lit from inside -- is an eerie portrait of the devastation wreaked by the sea storm in 2004 on the south Asian and the south India coast.
"Guns and Oil", a metal and glass installation of a scooter full of terrorist guns, is a statement on violence. "I wanted to make it to show the world," Bawa said. Another installation of a giant tortoise shot with inner light attracts attention because it almost feels lifelike.
Most of the works are in ordinary sheet glass, though Bawa has imported some expensive glass from Germany.
Bawa's career spans nearly five decades. She began as a professional artist in 1962.
The 61-year-old artist sources her subjects from everyday life. “I like glasses because of the fact that it is so translucent and traps light in a certain way. It is fragile and yet tough at the same time with natural textures. Glass is a medium of substance. I love light and space and things that are uncluttered,” Bawa said.
The artist was honoured with the country's highest civilian honour- Padmashri- this year.