Dewithe word for goddess in Indonesian and Malay, is borrowed from Hindu devi, meaning a being of excellence and exalted beauty. Yet Dewi is also one of the most common names for a woman in the Malay Archipelago. By making it the title of her solo exhibition, artist Nadiah Bamadhaj evokes a sense of community between the human and the divine. His works combine a fascination for aesthetics and a sensitivity for the particular sublime of exquisite pain. In Lanang Pijar, 2023, a featureless horned face in patinated cast brass in a robin’s egg blue tone looms above eye level. Suspended below is a droplet-shaped resin womb unevenly covered in goatskin and lit from within. For Harvest, 2023, a metal hook attached to a buffalo hide heart supports a slender cluster of navy blue testicles streaked with silver, from which spring delicate metallic stems like mycelium. In addition to her wide range of materials, Bamadhaj exhibits usually hidden hooks and threads as formal elements that speak to a female psyche perched precariously between the divine and the mundane, the exquisite and the desperate, the fractured and the All.

His charcoal diaristic studies of horizontal landscapes intersect with the vertically suspended sculptures of Bamadhaj. She populates hazy, penumbral realms with abstract but corporeal forms enhanced by sinuous trails of gold leaf. The drawings on paper collage are then carefully positioned in dialogue with the shadows of the suspended objects, transforming the exhibition into an experimental mixture of material symbiosis.

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