Comparative Analysis Of “It's Me” By Huma Bhabha And “Dancing Figure” By Unknown Author

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What does a huge sculpture from 2013 by Huma Bhabha have in common with a tiny sculpture from Pakistan? No, it is not the fact that both artists where from Pakistan. In my comparison essay, I chose to look at a piece by Pakistani Artist Huma Bhabha titled “It’s Me” from 2013 and a piece called “Dancing Figure” from about 2300-1750 BCE to decipher their similarities. In both of these pieces you can see that the artists where heavily influenced by the structure of the human body, and each have a sense of movement about them. Each piece has its own unique features. They both share a similar way of portraying the human figure and each still require a lot of thinking to determine what the figure is actually doing. While we know very little about the creator of the “Dancing Figure”, we do know some things about the artist of “It’s Me”.

Huma Bhabha was born in Karachi, Pakistan in 1962 and mainly uses things like Styrofoam, air-drying clay, cork, and construction scraps (Huma Bhabha). The first piece, by Huma Bhabha gives you the feel that the statue is supposed to be many figures mashed into one. This piece measures in at about 7 feet tall, by about 2 foot wide. This means that in a gallery, this piece would practically tower over you as you examine it. The feeling one gets from looking at this piece is unnerving. You cannot help but look deeply into the dark circular “eyes” on what appears to be the head of the sculpture. Your eyes naturally transition up to the bright blue above the eyes, and then down to the almost ancient looking sculpture below. To me, it almost looks like someone took a historical piece that didn’t have a head, decided to take a charcoal stick, a blue crayon and a chunk of pure white Styrofoam then decided to put humpty dumpty back together again. The body of the piece looks as though someone carved into a piece of dark wood or a very old and stained piece of sandstone.

One of the most prominent features of the entire piece is what I perceive to be the nipples of the sculpted figure. I did look at a variety of images of this piece and found that in a warmer lighted setting you can very distinctly see the red markings all over the sculpture, unlike the first image I have included were they are barely visible.

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The second, and much older piece is a very small limestone sculpture from Harappa, Pakistan that measures in at about 3 7/8 inches, or if you are more fond of the metric system, nearly 10 centimeters. That is smaller than an iPhone! This piece, while still visually interesting is much simpler than the one previously described. With no head, arms, and only one leg this piece leaves a lot to the imagination as to why it is titled the Dancing Figure. In another era this sculpture may have had the remainder of its limbs and head but how we have it now, it has none of those key features. Looking at this piece, you almost feel as though it is too simple to spend very much time observing. The figure is more masculine, but it is still very curvaceous, which is very prominent in the first picture I have shown. By today’s standards, this piece would be seen as a much less masculine feature since it isn’t “ripped”, and many muscles aren’t defined. This definitely fits the style of art from the time period that this piece is from, and it more closely resembles the way that Indian artists depicted the young buddha. One amazing similarity between each piece is the way that each of them depict the human figure. Now, each piece was created in a completely different time and place but there are some clear similarities to the two.

The most prominent for me, is how each artist chose to do the chest. It is hard to miss the fact that the ancient Dancing Figure is masculine, and Bhabha’s piece is undoubtedly a feminine, but the way that each decided to do the nipples are identical. I also find it very interesting that even though Bhabha’s piece is so massive, looking at it for the first time I initially thought it was quite small and assumed that the ancient piece would be bigger. I think in a way I’ve been conditioned for large stone sculptures to be a very prominent thing in the past, especially when I’ve seen so many pieces of Greek sculpting work.

Another thing I notice while looking at the two pieces is the use of holes. The small sculpture is riddled with holes on the biceps, neck, and hips. Bhabha’s piece has several holes in it as well, including where one of the nipple’s should be and ones to represent the eyes of the figure we see.

The second similarity between these pieces is the fact that they definitely give the viewer a lot of room to guess as to what the figures are trying to convey. Bhabha’s piece almost feels as if there is a prominent figure standing between two others who are not as visible, and are perhaps smashed into the back of the first. This fact may have been a happy accident for the much older piece, since it does look like it has been broken in at least one spot. Never the less, they do leave a lot up to our imagination.

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