Sheela Gowda

May 30, 2015 – Jul 19, 2015
Opening Reception
May 29, 2015
7:00 - 9:00pm

Artist's Talk

Para Site is proud to present Sheela Gowda’s first solo exhibition in East Asia, opening on May 29th, and on view through July 19th. The exhibition incorporates a selection of existing works from various moments of the artist’s practice, alongside four major new installation works. Some of these were inspired by her research trip to Hong Kong earlier this year. The exhibition of this powerful and highly original artist is an expression of Para Site’s longstanding exploration of art’s different languages in engaging with our world.

Sheela Gowda was trained as a painter, in the great tradition of Indian modernist artistic education (Ken School of Art, Bangalore; MS University, Baroda; Bangalore University; Vishwabharati University, Santiniketan) as well as at the Royal College of Art, London. Her artistic practice is founded on a departure from the pictorial codes of representation into the field of materiality and space, as more nuanced and vibrant means of understanding the world. Gowda is interested in the power that objects and forms carry in capturing aspects of reality, with its social and cultural narratives, that are otherwise unseen by and unspeakable through other languages of representation and analysis. Materials for Gowda can be at the same time complex metaphors and ends in themselves, forgetful of their many cultural and spiritual investments attributed by human practice, but charged with a potential spiritual tension of their own, serving as relics of worlds unraveled and building blocks for other, new ones. These worlds are complex, often conflicted and equivocal. Her vocabulary is constantly discovered and invented in the things that surround her and that she respells into her works.

While strongly routed in the realities surrounding her in contemporary India (religious politics and violence, social exclusion and rebellion, rapid industrialization and urbanization), Gowda’s work carries universal meanings and relevancy. It employs international codes of art history, forms produced and validated in a western cannon of modernism, the avant-garde, and later practices, as well as vernacular languages of the contemporary from places as conflicted and as hybrid as the Amazon’s rubber extraction areas, Karnataka’s dwindling handicraft tradition, and Hong Kong’s transforming manufacturing industries. Gowda does not illustrate these worlds, and she does not repeat or translate artistically their narratives. She however creates moments of encounter and tension where understanding and profound engagement are possible.

The exhibition is curated by Cosmin Costinas, Para Site’s Executive Director/Curator.



Para Site fully supports the democratic aspirations of the people of Hong Kong.

Para Site is financially supported by the Springboard Grant under the Arts Capacity Development Funding Scheme of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

The content of this activity does not reflect the views of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

About the artist

Sheela Gowda lives in Bangalore. She was a finalist for the 2014 Hugo Boss Prize. Her work has been exhibited at major museums and institutions around the world and at exhibitions such as dOCUMENTA (2007), Venice Biennale (2009), Sharjah Biennial (2009), Busan Biennial (2012), and Gwangju Biennale (2014), a.o.

Related event

Public Tours
Jun 10 – Jul 16, 2015
Hosted by Cosmin Costinas, Freya Chou, Simmy Ling, and Leung Mee Ping

Artist's talk: Sheela Gowda