Dia Mehhta Bhupal’s studio is a lot like her — ordered and organised, with sprinkles of colour all around. Nestled in the new city of Hyderabad, between a mall and a new apartment complex, it is her space of quiet introspection, calm and creativity. Here she recreates what she calls ‘sets’, depicting familiar spaces like grocery stores, bookshops and movie theatres using paper and pages taken from glossy magazines.
Each of Bhupal’s highly detailed works can take over 18 months to complete. “I believe in the power of the image,” says the artist, who creates, stages and photographs her sets with great patience, capturing “private moments in a public space”. Instead of a central figure, the objects populating the scene build her narratives. She explains, “it is the smaller moments that come together to form a larger picture.” In part, the meticulous deconstruction and reconstruction of these larger scenes are meditations on the city, its consumerist tendencies and our desensitization to what we see around us.
Bhupal’s belief in sustainability emerges naturally in her process of slow creation and choice of materials. Equally, her passion for engaging with the larger community comes through projects like the Corona Quilt Project, a community initiative led by the artist in which she created large-scale quilts stitching together more than a thousand embroidered and painted fabric squares made by families, women, children and the elderly from around the country during the COVID pandemic.
In this BMW Artist Film, we speak to her about her fascination with transient spaces and how she brings them to life in her practice.
Dia Mehhta Bhupal was born in Mumbai and currently lives and works in Hyderabad, India. Her work focuses on redefining everyday images as commonly interpreted by society. She is represented by GALLERYSKE.