Artist Huma Bhabha Debuts Metropolitan Museum of Art Roof Garden Installation

Huma Bhabha (born 1962, Karachi, Pakistan) The Roof Garden Commission: Huma Bhabha, We Come in Peace Installation view, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2018 © Huma Bhabha, courtesy of the artist and Salon 94 Image credit: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photograph by Hyla Skopitz.

Pakistani-American artist Huma Bhabha has installed two monumental cast bronze sculptures atop the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. On view through October 28, the installation is the latest commission for the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden.

Huma Bhabha (born 1962, Karachi, Pakistan) The Roof Garden Commission: Huma Bhabha, We Come in Peace Installation view, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2018 © Huma Bhabha, courtesy of the artist and Salon 94 Image credit: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photograph by Hyla Skopitz

Inviting visitors to “envision tales of foreign visitation,” Bhabha—who is based in Based in Poughkeepsie, New York—took inspiration from Robert Wise’s 1951 science-fiction classic The Day the Earth Stood Still.  The artworks include a 12-foot-tall, five-headed figure that shares the installation’s name and an 18-foot-long prostrate called Benaam, which translates to “nameless” in Urdu. Carefully choreographing a theatrical setting, Bhabha oriented the two sculptures towards one another, creating the sense that the shadowy figures have just descended upon the urban rooftop while inspiring visitors to imagine a dramatic fictional saga of their arrival.

Huma Bhabha (born 1962, Karachi, Pakistan)
The Roof Garden Commission: Huma Bhabha, We Come in Peace Installation view, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2018
© Huma Bhabha, courtesy of the artist and Salon 94
Image credit: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photograph by Hyla Skopitz

Handcrafted to scale before being cast in bronze, the sculptures were created with materials such as air-dried clay, cork, plastic, and Styrofoam. “The works retain the look of their original materials but now exude an endurance, their distressed, afflicted bodies speaking the common language of life’s precariousness as well as of survival,” according to the press release.

“We Come in Peace” will be on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden from April 17 to October 28.

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