Ahuva Zeloof Shows ‘Subconscious Self-Portraits’ at Diba Art

Diba Art is holding a solo exhibition of works by Iraqi-born sculptor, Ahuva Zeloof, from August 20th to November 2020.

Featuring over 30 works, the exhibition, IMPERFECTION, brings together a selection of important sculptures from the past decade, as well as a number of works from Ahuva Zeloof’s new series in stone, created during the long weeks of self-isolation in lockdown and presented here for the first time; Scarred, Fractured and Hope. For Zeloof, lockdown been an opportunity for looking within and reminiscing over a substantial body of work created since 2017.

Curated with Diba Art Gallery, the works presented in IMPERFECTION demonstrate both, Zeloof’s progression as a sculptor, and the vast array of mediums she deploys, including bronze and glass, as well as hand sculpted and polished works in stone – the latter in a myriad of colours and variety, from ethereal alabaster to darkest black steatite.

Ahuva Zeloof - Windswept
Ahuva Zeloof – Windswept


Since her first solo exhibition Evolution in 2017, followed by her critically acclaimed solo exhibition Reflection in 2019 at The Old Truman Brewery, Zeloof has gone on to create a masterful body of work in mediums including, stone, bronze, wax and glass. With an innate understanding and appreciation for the scope and beauty inherent in each of her chosen materials, Zeloof’s sculptures are a masterclass in exploring the human form, featuring female faces, and bodies in movement and repose which echo the life experiences of the artist as both, a woman and a matriarch.

See also: Emily Young Shows Sculpture Inspired by Climate Crisis at Bowman Gallery

In recent months, this universal experience has also included the challenge of long self-isolation, resulting in the remarkable new body of work in stone, Five Black Rocks. Initially, a leap into the unknown for Zeloof – the featured stones were chosen blind, rather than with her usual process of careful selection. Zeloof said; “Not being able to choose the stone – the shape, veins and so on – means that I can only start to decide what they are to become when I am examining them at home – it’s a very different process and working relationship. The challenge is to work with what I am given and make do with the unknown.”

Ahuva Zeloof - photo by Georgia Metaxas
Ahuva Zeloof – photo by Georgia Metaxas

Ahuva Zeloof’s world is usually filled with the joy of family life shared with children and grandchildren, but during lockdown her experience was one of deep isolation, living alone and working daily on Five Black Rocks as her only ‘companions’ during this intense seclusion. She says of this experience, “I wanted to bring something bright and positive into the world for the future that is to come; a series of works which are a mediation and reflection on the mood of this time, but which also look forward to a post-pandemic world where we can all meet again.’”

Ahuva Zeloof’s figurative works are often described as ‘subconscious self-portraits’ and this has perhaps never been more so than in the shifting emotional and psychological states rendered in the sculptures of Five Black Rocks. These new works have an intense introspection and sense of dialogue with form and medium which is shared by so much of Zeloof’s work, including the tryptych, Me, Us and Them and Mountain Profile.

Ahuva Zeloof – Us

Yogic poses

Her work is deeply influenced by yoga, a practice which inspired her exploration of the human body through sculpture. Her Movement and New Movement series portray figures cast in yogic poses, whilst monumental faces reference the mental clarity and serenity achieved through practicing mindfulness. In the artist’s own words, “Just like practicing yoga, when I sculpt, I listen to the medium, never forcing it into shapes and images, but instead working with it to discover its possibilities and limitations.”

Ahuva Zeloof aims to capture the natural, organic movement and life of the human form – and the materials she uses. There is a fascination in the dynamics and energy created through the process of ‘allowing’ the figure to emerge from the heart of the stone in the process of working; an intimate perspective that offers the artist a dialogue with the medium which she describes as, “playing with the fine line between what I can carve out of the stone and what is already there.”

Ahuva Zeloof – Profile Black

DIBA ART London was founded in 2017 and aims to bring contemporary Iranian artists from around the globe to wider audiences in London.

The exhibition IMPERFECTION is open virtually and by appointment at the gallery at 65 Lambeth Walk, London SE11 6DX; for exhibition information and opening times email info@dibaartlondon.com, tel. 0207 207 0141, or see www.dibaartlondon.com

For more information on Ahuva Zeloof: www.ahuvazeloof.com

See also: Simon Gudgeon: Living and Breathing Sculpture

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