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Hemali Bhuta

Indian Contemporary artist
Born 1978, Mumbai
Lives and works in Baroda, India

Hemali Bhuta creates installations using naturally found materials that blend into the space in which her art is exhibited. After working as an interior decorator, Bhuta went to art school to study painting and currently explores spatial arrangements, histories, and forms, with focus on environment and location. Impermanence is a key theme in her works and they exist in the form of archival prints, photographs, and other documentation after their dis-installation.



Selected for an exchange program at École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris


M.V.A (post diploma, Painting) with first class, M.S. University, Baroda


Certificate course in Weaving, Dyeing and Printing at Weavers’ Service Centre, Mumbai


Diploma (G.D. ART) in Fine Arts (Painting), L.S. Raheja School of Art, Mumbai


Diploma in Interior Designing and Decorations from Sophia College, Mumbai


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Bhuta's installations create a sense of illusion

Hemali Bhuta’s installations derived from commonplace and household materials bring home a sense of illusion. Structures which appear to be rigid are actually a matrix composition of pressure points. Her work titled Folded Line looks like a huge slab of concrete and resembles a construction site, but everything being an illusion in Bhuta’s show, the sculpture is not made of concrete but alum, a water purifier used in households. The sculpture that looks like a wall length lance is actually made of bee's wax; the works that look like pillars of supports can crumble easily. These intriguing, minimalist works target people’s general perceptions and are inspired from simple notions encountered in daily life.

Hemali Bhuta, Filler, 2012, plaster of paris​

Her practice is based on the notion of transitory space

The artist's multi-faceted practice primarily focuses on the notion of a 'transitory' space and the elements defining that space. Bhuta's work uses materials ranging from wax, to alum and soap, to transform spaces and draw attention to its unseen corners. In her exhibition The Hangover of Agarlum,  Bhuta has transformed the stereotypical identity of an exhibition space into a tangible experience. She derives from her experiences of various elements to build her installations which reflect on issues of belonging, security, individuality and change, her purpose being for the viewer to be able to deeply visualize the transitory spaces of restlessness between these issues and think about a way to overcome them.

Hemali Bhuta, Stepping Down, 2010, wax sticks of various lengths and cotton threads​

Bhuta integrates historical aspects with modern ones

Her works are a reflection of historical elements of a particular space and their impact on the modern ones. This can be seen in her installation at Mumbai Art Room, where during renovation, a large nest of white ants was found inhabiting one of the walls, producing a few small hole puckers in the wall’s surface that gave away a faint hint of the lacy network of boreholes behind. This entire history was taken into account by the artist when she ideated the construction of a wall extending out into the exhibition space, dividing it into two distinct areas displaying a wall edge made from the sand used in termite barriers.
Bhuta believes in Japanese architect Tadao Ando’s statement. “You cannot simply put something new into a place. You have to absorb what you see around you, what exists on the land, and then use that knowledge along with contemporary thinking to interpret what you see."

Hemali Bhuta, The Column in Transit and The Wall Piece, 2012, temporary site-specific installation

She enjoys creating environments that respond to space

The artist experiments with the significance of space using common household materials. She placed incense shaped like dog waste in her college corridors and filled the dirty, insect-infested student toilets with incense-coated clay resembling wasp colonies. She transformed the dirty spaces into fragrant environments, fused naturally with surroundings where other living forms could find a home. In another work, Stepping Down she used wax, cotton thread and a metal grid, and by suspending them from the ceiling, she developed formations found in caves. Transforming the gallery space into a cave, Bhuta brought back memories of her previous surroundings, such as calcium deposits on taps and pots found in many homes from washing with hard water.

Hemali Bhuta, Speed Breakers, 2012, 11 sand casted aged / blackened bronze roots

She draws inspiration from issues relating to the domestic world

Bhuta made some video installations based on lower middle class housing societies in Goregaon, Mumbai. She used ‘money plant', a common plant which can be found in the houses of many middle and lower middle class families and is believed to bring good luck and prosperity, to symbolize the hopes, desires and aspirations that run like threads in the fabric of these households. Since this particular housing society had a majority of Hindu families, the video also digresses to a space linked to questions of identity back and forth via innumerable myths and beliefs that exist in their daily lives.

Hemali Bhuta, Evolution (video still), 2008