Vibha Galhotra

b. 1978 in Chandigarh, India
Working in New Delhi, India
Showing at Asia Society Museum
On view from March 16, 2021, through June 27, 2021
Vibha Galhotra Who Owns Water

Vibha Galhotra, Who Owns the Water?, 2019. Performed at Asia Society, 2019. © Vibha Galhotra. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York. Photograph by Ellen Wallop

Vibha Galhotra is best known for her large-scale, research-based installations that confront the evolution of topographical and cultural geographies due to globalization and nation building. She is primarily concerned with the detrimental impact of urban gentrification on the environment and the subsequent marginalization of local communities. The artist’s use of hand-sewn ghungroos—metal ankle bells used as feminine accessories in Indian culture—in her intricately crafted sculptures alludes to the under-recognized role that women play in India’s rapidly evolving economy in relation to the shifting balance between handcraftsmanship and industrialization. Galhotra received a BFA in graphics from the Government College of Arts, Chandigarh, in 1988, and an MFA in graphics from the Kala Bhavana (Institute of Fine Arts), Bolpur, in 2001.

Āpa is a multimedia installation that developed from the artist’s 2019 performance-based commission, which was part of Asia Society’s Creative Common Ground initiative. Orchestrated by the artist in New York City as a conversation over dinner, Who Owns the Water? facilitated dialogue between experts and advocates who share concerns about the rights, environmental policies, and conservation of water. The three videos included in this installation feature documentation of the dinner and a newly commissioned film that extends Galhotra’s longstanding interest in sustainability.