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A portrait of a South Asian artist with brown skin, dark brown eyes, and long dark hair falling on the right side of her face. She's looking straight into the camera, posed in front of a stucco wall. She is wearing a black silk blouse with spaghetti straps, and on her left ear is a hanging pearl earring from India.

Photo by Forrest Gander.


Ashwini Bhat

She // Her // Hers

Transdisciplinary Artist

Penngrove, California

The contemplative pandemic year has shown me how resilient and regenerative the studio practice can be. My practice constantly surprised me and recentered me during difficult times. The studio also became a sacred space for metabolizing transformations — of material, self, and my own purpose on this earth.”

After thirty-five years in Southern India, Ashwini Bhat now works in the California Bay Area. Coming from a background in literature and classical Indian dance, Bhat uses ceramic sculptures, installations, video, and text to develop a unique visual language exploring the intersections between body and nature, self and other. In her practice, she draws from her upbringing in a rural agrarian community. Her work shows the influence of syncretic shrines and rituals, along with non-logocentric and non-Western metaphysical concepts of empathy for the nonhuman. She sees her work, in part, as an act of mapping and remapping consciousness, contributing to a spiritual or psychological archive, with an emphasis on the transformative aspects of place.

She has received the Howard Foundation Award for Sculpture, the McKnight Foundation Residency Fellowship, and the Julia Terr Fellowship. Her work is exhibited nationally and internationally and can be seen in collections at the Newport Art Museum, Brown University’s Watson Institute, New Bedford Historical Society; Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park (Japan); FuLe International Ceramic Art Museum (China); Daugavpils Mark Rothko Centre (Latvia); and in many private collections. Her sculpture also has been widely reviewed and featured in The Los Angeles Review of Books, Bay Nature, PinUp Magazine, Newcity, American Craft Council, Alta Journal, The Brooklyn Rail, Lana Turner: a Journal of Poetry and Opinion, Riot Material, Ceramic Art and Perception, Ceramics Ireland, New Ceramics, Caliban, Crafts Arts International, The Studio Potter, Logbook, and Ceramics Monthly. Bhat is represented by Shoshana Wayne Gallery, Los Angeles.

Donor -This award was generously supported by the Windgate Foundation.

This artist page was last updated on: 07.10.2024

Assembling California.

A grouping of abstract ceramic sculptures scattered across a white wall. Each individual sculpture resembles torn scraps of brown fabric or paper that have been burnt around the edges until they wave and curl. Lines of text divide the group of sculptures in half. A blurry figure appears standing to the right of the sculptures.

Bhumija, Born of the Earth, 2022. Glazed ceramic sculptures and text, dimensions 14 × 19 feet.

Photo by Joe McDonald; courtesy of the artist and Shoshana Wayne Gallery, Los Angeles.

Photo of an installation in a darkened gallery space. Abstract sculptures in organic shapes form a circle around the floor, each one haloed with an overhead light. There is a video projection on the farthest wall showing a woman reaching up to the branch of a tree.

Ritual Encounters, 2022. Glazed ceramic sculptures, video, and earth mandalas, dimensions 3,245 square feet. Installation at The Mondavi Center, University of California Davis.

Photo by John Janca; courtesy of the artist and Shoshana Wayne Gallery, Los Angeles.