Lubna Chowdhary’s shaped tiles, sculptural objects and installations in ceramic constitute a distinctive oeuvre that bridges the disciplines of architecture, craft, design, sculpture and painting. Her colour-rich body of work explores and celebrates the plurality of our built environment. Histories of material culture and cross‐cultural confluence are examined to generate new forms that resist easy classification.
Her heritage – born in Tanzania to Pakistani parents, who emigrated to the industrial north of England in the 1970s – brings with it the memory of richly decorated spaces and diverse architectural landscapes. Working with both industrial and studio ceramic traditions, Chowdhary merges ideas and aesthetics from Eastern and Western cultures to address the relationship between them.
The tableau Late in the Afternoon evokes the characteristically hybrid architecture of Asian and South Asian cities, with their informal conjunctions of tradition and modernity, and of the rational and spiritual. The work recalls a view of a distant cityscape, a world captured in space and existing across time. It brings together multiple, overlapping and intimately installed two‐dimensional forms that are often metaphorical, but sometimes reference memories of real objects, buildings and places. Special attention is paid to constructing, accumulating and composing elements. Their vibrant glazed surfaces carry the softness and irregularity of hand glazing, which contrasts sharply with the technologically precise cut of the ceramic forms.
Late in the Afternoon will join Gallery Oldham’s existing collection of studio ceramics. Chowdhary grew up just a few miles from Oldham and this work resonates on a local level, evoking the familiar shapes of the North West’s industrial-built forms and, in combination with the artist’s South Asian architectural influences, echoes the complexity of our shared lives in the UK today.
Lubna Chowdhary (b. 1964, Dodoma, Tanzania) lives and works in London. Recent solo exhibitions include Art Basel Hong Kong (2019); Kochi-Muziris Biennale, Kerala (2018). Recent group exhibitions include Frestonian Gallery, London; Jhaveri Contemporary, Mumbai (both 2018); Manchester Art Gallery (2017). In 2017 she was artist in residence at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.
Presented by the Contemporary Art Society through the Omega Fund, 2018/19