Hema Upadhyay - Installation Art

Hema Upadhyay (born Hema Hirani; 1972 – December 11, 2015) was an Indian artist based in Mumbai. She was known for photography and sculptural installations. She was active from 1998 until her death in 2015.Born Hema Hirani in Baroda, she met her future husband and fellow artist Chintan Upadhyay in 1992. The couple married in 1998, and settled in Mumbai. They worked together in many exhibitions, before filing for a divorce in 2010. They were officially divorced in 2014.Chintan then moved to Delhi; she lived in their flat on the Juhu-Tara road

Hema had her first solo exhibition, titled Sweet Sweat Memories, at Gallery Chemould, now Chemould Prescott road (Mumbai), in 2001. The exhibition consisted of mixed media on paper works. In these works she has incorporated her own photographs to communicate her ideas of migration having moved to Bombay in 1998. Hema's paintings were usually characterised by the inclusion of small-collaged photographic self-portraits.In the 2001 Hema had her first international solo at Artspace, Sydney, and Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia, where she exhibited an installation titled The Nymph and the Adult (also exhibited at the 10th International Triennial – India held in New Delhi) she hand sculpted 2000 lifelike cockroaches, infesting the gallery with them. The work was intended to make viewers think about the consequences of military actions.In collaboration with Chintan Upadhyay, she did a work titled Made in China, which spoke about mass consumerism, globalisation and a loss of identity through this. Her next collaboration was in 2006 when she collaborated with her mother, Bina Hirani, the work was titled Mum-my and was shown at the Chicago Cultural Centre.

In 2010, Hema was invited for a residency at Atelier Calder, Sache, France. While there, she completed the work Only Memory has Preservatives, this work was inspired by the natural surroundings in Sache, but also reflected ideas that have been part of her practice. Hema tried to replicate the forest in her studio, though not in the literal sense. Using copyright free images of certain trees found in the area, she created a landscape work without using materials from nature.
In 2003 she was part of the Vasl residency in Karachi where she made a work titled Loco foco motto (which she later in 2007 exhibited in a group show at the Hanger Bicocca, Milan, Italy) that spoke about the India-Pakistan divide keeping in mind her own family history related to the partition of India. The works were also a break from her trademark symbolism, they were more craft oriented as she used matchsticks and glue to make chandeliers. Constructed of thousands of un-ignited matchsticks assembled into elaborate chandeliers, these pieces embody an important element of Hindu ritual, symbolising creation and destruction.
Her later works featured patterned surfaces, which quote from Indian spiritual iconography and traditional textile design, titled Killing Site. Dream a wish-wish a dream (2006) was the first large-scale installation that Hema did. At first glance her installation seems to be only a landscape of Bombay; however, it iss actually a statement on the changing landscape by migrants who make Bombay.Wikipedia

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