Arts Writing Artist Features

Avantika Bawa

Avantika Bawa in her studio. 2014 Joan Shipley Fellow, Oregon Arts Commission. 2014.

Photo: Sabina Poole

Originally published January, 2014

Avantika Bawa just received the triple-crown from the Oregon Arts Commission. Not only was she awarded an Oregon Arts Commission Fellowship, she was also singled out for a special, honorary Joan Shipley Award. First presented in 2012, the award recognizes Oregon arts leader Joan Shipley, founding board member of PICA and the Bonnie Bronson Trust, who passed away in 2011. Just days later, Bawa was appointed to the Oregon Arts Commission. Whereas Shipley supported the arts primarily from a philanthropic standpoint, Bawa is in the thick of it as an internationally exhibiting artist, co-founder of the arts journal Drain, curator, and academic.

While she regularly exhibits nationally and in her native India, is represented by Gallery Maskara, Mumbai, and Saltworks Gallery, Atlanta, and has participated in many important US residencies including Skowhegan, MacDowell Colony, and Vermont Studio Center, Bawa is committed to the Northwest region, creating/designing installations in small-town storefronts as well as large-scale site-specific works in centers such as Suyama Space in Seattle and Disjecta in Portland. Her appointment to the Oregon Arts Commission is a sign of recognition that Bawa has made an impact on the region in the seven years since she was first invited for a solo exhibition at the well-regarded Everett Lofts gallery, Tilt. She agitates for and is vocally supportive of more and better arts criticism, the community’s support of new arts centers and opportunities for her students.

Since moving to Oregon in late 2009, she has worked with a number of art organizations, including the Arts Center of Corvallis; The Schneider Museum of Art, Ashland; Disjecta, Portland. She is also on the programming committee of Know Your City. Bawa says, “I hope that my presence on the board of the Oregon Arts Commission will add to the dialogues around contemporary art practices, while also bringing in diversity, global vision, and a high dose of enthusiasm. I eagerly look forward to sharing my artistic, curatorial, and administrative experiences as a commissioner for the Oregon Arts Commission.”
Bawa received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and her BFA from the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, India.

She had solo exhibitions at The Columbus Museum, Columbus, GA; the Atlanta Contemporary Arts Center, Atlanta, GA; Lalit Kala Academy and Nature Morte Gallery, New Delhi, India; Gallery Maskara, Mumbai, India; Disjecta and Portland State University, Portland, OR. She was part of the South by East Biennial in Boca Raton, FL and has shown work at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Atlanta, GA; The Drawing Center and Smack Mellon, New York, NY; and SAVAC, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Bawa currently has a solo exhibition at the Schneider Museum of Art in Ashland as part of the series, The Southern Oregon Site (ART) Project funded by The Ford Family Foundation (as part of their Exhibition & Documentation Program) with additional funding from the Department of Art, Southern Oregon University The show is a response to the history of Emigrant Lake, a manmade reservoir southeast of Ashland, at the southern end of the Rogue River. Later in the year, her work will be part of a group show curated by Jordan Storm at the Surrey Art Gallery, Vancouver BC, titled Ruptures in Arrival: Art in the Wake of the Komagata Maru.

Courtesy of The Oregon Arts Commission.

Artist Credit: Avantika Bawa

Exhibition: Oregon Arts Commission Fellows

Project Website

Oregon Arts Commission