Huma Mulji, Winning Artist, Abraaj Group Art Prize 2013
The Miraculous Lives of This and That, Wooden cabinet, various objects including taxidermy animals, plastic toys and dust, cabinet: 165.1 x 138.4 x 231 cm
‘The Miraculous Lives of This and That’-a twenty-first century Wunderkammer, or cabinet of curiosities-employs the whimsical and wondrous logic of acquisition, categorisation, organisation and display of these unruly antecedents of the modern museum. A variety of ordinary and extraordinary objects, gathered from Huma Mulji’s local milieu, fill the compartments and drawers of a slightly larger than life wooden cabinet. Among them are taxidermy animals, porcelain imitations of cheap plastic dolls, copper votive objects in the shape of body parts, and arrays of rotting teeth, all metonyms of a body haunted by decay and inevitable death. Straddling the threshold between the animate and inanimate, between use and obsolescence, these objects challenge clear-cut distinctions between material states of being. Finally, the cabinet is an existential meditation on the mortality of all things, both living and not, and on the very matter of life.
Huma Mulji currently lives in Lahore, and teaches at the School of Visual Art and Design at Beaconhouse National University. Recent exhibitions include Frieze Art Fair, UK, Art Basel Miami, the Twelve Gates Gallery, Philadelphia, ‘Destination Asia: Non-strict correspondence’ and Soros Center for Contemporary Art, Almaty. In 2006: ‘256 Shades’, V.M. Gallery, Karachi and ‘Sub-Continent’, Fondazionne Sandretto Re Rauburg, Torino. She participated at the Tasmeen Doha 2013: Middle-East Art and Design Conference, in March 2013. Mulji is represented by Project 88, Mumbai and Thomas Erben Gallery, New York.