The internationally acclaimed artist Hema Upadhyay – who has had shows at the Pompidou, the Ullens Centre and the Mori Art Museum – has been found murdered. The Indian art world is mourning the death of the artist and her lawyer Harish Bhambhani who were found dead in Mumbai on Saturday 12 December.
The artist was considered a rising star in India’s art world, Mumbai-based Upadhyay enjoyed a growing reputation with important international curators. Upadhyay was represented by some of India’s most influential dealers, including Vadehra Art Gallery in Delhi and Gallery Chemould in Mumbai and had earned residencies at programmes ranging from the Atelier Calder in France to the Vasl Art Collective in Pakistan.
The artist was best known for her photography and intricate mixed-media installations. “She was a good artist. In person she always had a sweet disposition and was always very considerate. The news is a shock,” stated Emi Eu, the director of the Singapore Tyler Print Institute, the southeast Asian arts organisation that hosted the artist in 2008 for a residency – telling the Art Newspaper.
Upadhyay’s solo presentation at Studio La Città in Verona, Italy, was given the Shakespearean title of Where the Bees Suck, There Suck I. The artist took over the gallery with piles of small houses with rusting corrugated roofs, typical of Mumbai slum dwellings.
About the artist:
The artist was born, raised and received her art training in Baroda, in Gujarat. Upadhyay moved to Mumbai in the late 1990s with her then husband to become part of the city’s rising artist community. She was 43 years old when she died. Indian authorities continue to investigate the artist’s shocking demise.