Metropolis by Lubna Chowdhary

Art Jameel Collection Display at Jameel Arts Centre

Metropolis is a multi-object work of 1000 handmade clay sculptures that celebrate architectural ornamentation and take inspiration from the concept of ‘horror vacui’, or the fear of empty space, in Middle Eastern and South Asian art and design. Born in Tanzania to a family of Indian origin, raised in the United Kingdom, and with her extended family settled in Pakistan, Lubna Chowdhary attributes the incorporation and distortion of international design aesthetics in her practice to her diverse cultural background.

Chowdhary’s brightly coloured three-dimensional edifices merge to form configurations that resemble lively cityscapes that can’t be associated with any one locale. Abstracting towers, monuments and other less definable forms, the installation charts the material culture of our urban environment, reflecting on the complexity of the man-made world and human production. Metropolis draws on memories of cities, anthropological collections, as well as notions of the historical and the current, the handmade and the industrial, and the vernacular and the ubiquitous.

Metropolis was created over a 28-year period. Chowdhary began the work in 1991 and continued to build on it over time, completing the project in 2019.

Lubna Chowdhary (b. Tanzania. Lives and works in London, UK) creates sculptural objects and site-specific artworks, working primarily in the field of ceramics. She subverts the traditional context and utility of her chosen medium (clay) to address a longstanding preoccupation with urbanisation and material culture in her art. Shaped tiles, sculptural objects, and spatial installations created in ceramic constitute a distinctive oeuvre that bridges the disciplines of architecture, craft, design, sculpture, and painting.

Chowdhary has a Master’s degree in ceramics from the Royal College of Art, London, and a Bachelor of Arts with Honours from Manchester Metropolitan University. She was shortlisted for the Jerwood Applied Arts Prize in 2001 and has completed artist’s residencies at both Camden Arts Centre and Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Her work has been included in exhibitions at Manchester City Gallery (2018); Kochi-Muziris Biennale (2018); Victoria & Albert Museum, London (2017 and 2005); NADA Miami with Camden Arts Centre (2016); Pewabic Arts, Detroit (2012); Foundation Bernardaud, Limoges (2004); City Art Gallery, Leicester (1994). Lubna Chowdhary is represented by Jhaveri Contemporary in Mumbai.

 

 

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