sheela gowda; open eye policy

irish museum of modern art

programme assistant; exhibitions


IMMA is delighted to present a major retrospective exhibition of the work of acclaimed Indian artist Sheela Gowda. Open Eye Policy is an overview of the artist’s work from 1992 to 2012. This exhibition provides Irish audiences the opportunity to discover the work of this extraordinary artist, who this year was nominated for the prestigious Hugo Boss Prize. The exhibition presents artworks never exhibited together and constitutes the basis for a proper evaluation of the artist’s historical and cultural significance.

The series of artworks presented can be divided into different, though interlinked, sections regarding works with cow dung, small and big installations, and digital works. In the selected works the cow dung is used on the picture surface as well as in sculptures, taking the shape of a dense pigment on paintings and of concrete material in sculptural installations such as Stock. The most significant large-scale installations include Kagebangara, Of All people, And… and Some Place, are made from materials as diverse as threads coated in KumKum (a red organic pigment used on the forehead and in rituals), flattened tar barrels (from which road workers make temporary shelters), metal piping, woven hair ropes and small wooden figures with votive functions.

Born 1957 in India, Gowda trained as a painter, and now works with a variety of media and material, which are often presented as installations. Selected international exhibitions include Documenta 12, 2007; Sharjah Biennale 2008, 53rd Venice Biennale 2009; and Singapore Biennial 2011. She has had solo exhibitions at InIVA London; NAS Gallery, Sydney; OCA, Oslo; Bose Pacia Gallery, New York, and GallerySKE, Bangalore. Gowda lives and works in Bangalore.

This exhibition is co-curated by Annie Fletcher and Grant Watson and is a touring project co-produced with Van Abbemuseum Eindhoven, Lunds Konsthall and IMMA. The exhibition has been shown at the Van Abbemuseum and Lunds Konsthall and is currently showing at the Centre international d'art et du paysage, Vassivière Island, France.