Lubna Chowdhary
Artist in Residence

Lubna Chowdhary (b. 1964, Dodoma, Tanzania) works primarily in the field of ceramics. Shaped tiles, sculptural objects, and spatial installations, constitute a distinctive oeuvre that bridges the disciplines of architecture, craft, design, sculpture and painting. Her practice subverts the context and utility traditionally associated with the medium of clay, addressing her longstanding preoccupation with material culture. Chowdhary’s work thrives on interconnection and the creation of relationships between diverse references, aesthetic traditions, materials and modes of production. Through experiments in aesthetic hybridity, her work negotiates cross-cultural narratives of modernity.

During a visit to the Torre Bonomo to see Sol LeWitt’s site-specific drawings, the line quality and process of drawing directly – in which graphite pencil made contact with the chalky textured surfaces of the walls – inspired me to take up a pencil and draw myself. LeWitt had mapped the rooms, often drawing in response to the fixtures and fittings in the Torre. I also began to use my studio space as a sketchbook, exploring placements of work and taking pleasure in the process and materials of drawing – often with unconventional materials. Sculptural objects and site-specific works which relate to space are encompassed in my practice. I work with diverse geometries, often subverting the minimalist grid by superimposing ornament and even treating the grid as ornament. Materiality and manual process is always evident in the work, disrupting mechanical precision, introducing imperfections of the hand and revealing the labour involved in the making process. During the period of the residency I challenged myself to improvise, using materials that were left by former residents or which were to hand in the studios. Allowing elements of risk, restriction and chance to enter into the work, directed it along unexpected paths.

Chowdhary received her BA from Manchester Metropolitan University in 1988, and MA from the Royal College of Art, London, in 1991. Here she also received The Sir Eduardo Paolozzi Travel Award in 1990. Her work has been shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions, most recently at Hayward Gallery, Peer London, MIMA, SCVA Norwich, Art Gallery New South Wales, Sydney; Jameel Arts Centre, Dubai; ICA Milano, Milan; Kochi Biennale, Biennale SA, Manchester Art Gallery, Jhaveri Contemporary Mumbai.

Public collections holding Chowdhary’s work include Government Art Collection-UK, Art Gallery of New South Wales – Sydney, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Jameel Arts Centre – Dubai, Kiran Nadar Museum of Art – New Delhi, Leicester City Museum, MIMA – Middlesborough, M+ Museum – Hong Kong, Mead Gallery – Warwick, SCVA – Norwich, Ishara Foundation – Dubai.

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