Huma Bhabha

We Come in Peace

Huma Bhabha, We Come in pEACE, 2018, FOTO: Ekebergparken

The Pakistani-American artist, Huma Bhabha (b.1962), received broad international reckognition in 2018 for her installation We Come in Peace, made on commission for the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art where it was shown on their roof terrace. The same installation has now become a part of the Ekebergpark’s collection where the urban American backdrop has been exchanged for Norwegian forests and a view of the Oslo fjord.

We Come in Peace is an installation consisting of two figures placed towards each other. One lying prostrate to the ground, the other standing. The lying figure is titled Benaam which is urdu and translates into «nameless». The standing sculpture shares its title with the installation. Here we are presented with mulit-gendered and several-headed figure. It has human attributions, however the comparison stops quickly and it appears to be something alienlike. The title of the installation refers directly to the film The Day the Earth Stood Still by Robert Wise from 1951. Bhabha takes these two figures and places them as actors on a stage. The tension occurring between them opens up for several experiences and associations for the viewer. The ambiguity of what is taking place is of great importance for the artist. What exactly is going on between them?

Bhabha’s works draw inspiration from science fiction and horror combined with art historical references. The artist is trained in fine arts from the Rhode Island School of Design and the University of Columbia, however she is self-taught in sculpture and works primarily with clay, styrofoam, cork, wood and other found material in her sculptures. The sculptures are cast in patinated bronze and painted over. 

© Huma Bhabha / BONO