Sheela Gowda’s (b.1957, Bhadravati, India) artistic practice engages a diverse range of media and materials. Her unique vocabulary of materials are drawn from both the rural and urban contexts in which she works and are characterized by their interest in texture, color, and socio-political references. PAMM’s double-height Project Gallery will serve as a unique architectural context for a newly commissioned sculptural installation by the Bangalore-based artist.
Gowda began her artistic career as a figurative painter and studied in London, where she received a master’s degree in painting at the Royal College of Art. She then returned to her native Bangalore, after which her practice radically changed in response to the fundamentalist Hindu violence that resulted in the Mumbai riots of 1992. Traditional materials, drawn from her Indian context, are of strong interest to the artist. These have included cow dung, which has sacred implications and is used domestically as cooking fuel and a building material. Other materials she has engaged include Kum Kum, a red pigment used for body adornment and rituals, as well as gold-leaf, coconut fiber, needles, thread, and cord. Her works specifically look to blur the lines between art and craft, and between political and domestic spaces.