A digital archive of Asian/Asian American contemporary art history

Bahl, Shelly

Artist Website

Shelly Bahl has created conceptual miniature paintings and installations which are recognizable as Indian art but create a new contemporary fantasy narrative. Through her work, Bahl intends to tell the story about Indian women's lives in different timeframes. She explains of her work, "In my current body of work, I make neo-Pop Art versions of Mughal miniatures. At first glance, the images look like traditional Indian miniatures, but close observation reveals surreal worlds where things are not so easily defined. From temple sculptures of female dancers, I make playful and kitsch appropriations of the figures in a linear and colorful manner. I like mixing up elements from a variety of styles and periods." Ramani Ramakrishnan wrote of her work, "What she has achieved --- is to bring to focus our own feelings about much-celebrated Indian Miniature Tradition as well as artists reaction to this idiom. In addition, Bahl has unearthed the women's responses to these representations and the role of Mughal women in society. Bahl has successfully achieved her goal through the use of bold colors, a touch of surrealism, and a constant exploration of contrasts.

Gallery of Selected Works