Sheela Gowda
Indian, born 1957
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Selected exhibitions
2016
New Tate Modern Switch House: Extension and Installation,
Tate Modern
2015
After Midnight: Indian Modernism to Contemporary India, 1947/1997,
Queens Museum
2014
No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia, Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative,
Guggenheim Museum

Bangalore-based Sheela Gowda creates sculptures and installations from cow dung, metal barrels, found wood, incense, and human hair—all materials that are charged with the culture and politics of her native India. Gowda’s work often addresses the fraught experience of oppressed minorities like women, migrant workers, and untouchables in Indian society. In And Tell Him of My Pain (1998/2001/2007), Gowda connects themes of violence to gender politics by threading 360-foot-long strings through bundles of needles, amassing an elegant but ominous network of serpentine, blood red lines. For Darkroom (2006), she created a hut from large found oil drums; from the exterior, it resembled a small, makeshift home in an urban slum, but from the interior—thanks to a constellation of perforated holes—it doubled as a window into an expansive night sky.

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