Hema Upadhyay, India


Title: Loco-Foco-Motto
Artist: Hema Upadhyay (1972 – 2015, India)
Medium: Matchsticks, Adhesive, Plywood
Dimensions: (H x W): 183 x 152 cm (72 x 60 in)
Weight: 136 kg (300 lbs.)
Location:  Aberdeen Centre, Richmond Art Gallery, Surrey Art Gallery

Loco-Foco-Motto was created on site in Aberdeen Centre in Richmond, British Columbia, over a three-week period with the assistance of dozens of volunteers, for the 2009 – 2011 Vancouver Biennale. The artwork represents a familiar theme and focus of Upadhyay, referencing fragility, vulnerability, transition, and gender-based femininity. Using a material that is highly flammable, Hema created an environment of anxiety, tension, and danger. From this conflict, her six chandeliers, constructed out of 750,000 red, white and blue matchsticks, were transformed into beautiful and elaborate pieces of art.  Two of the chandeliers were subsequently presented in an exhibition entitled In Transition: New Art from India at the Richmond Art Gallery and the Surrey Art Gallery in Metro Vancouver.