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Hisham Bharoocha

A prolific artist channels global communities and Eastern philosophy

by Largetail in Culture on 25 November 2011

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Brooklyn-based visual artist and musician Hisham Bharoocha blurs the boundaries of artistic medium, creating multi-sensory anthems that deftly move between a daydream quality of images and sound. The skateboarding scenes in LA and San Diego instilled an interwoven sense of creativity and community in Bharoocha at an early age and, melding seemingly divergent influences of punk rock aesthetics with the prevalence of his mother's homespun folk art, Bharoocha pursued a burgeoning interest in visual art. After attending high school in Tokyo, Bharoocha enrolled at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), which introduced Bharoocha to what he fondly refers to as, "a really good balance of kids who made interesting visual work and people who played music."

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While studying photography and video, Bharoocha's compositional experimentation took a new direction as the inducted drummer of Black Dice, a progressive noisecore ensemble. Inspired by flyers accumulated from years of touring and the art of fellow bandmate, Bjorn Copeland, Bharoocha started to explore the artistry of collage. His art pairs psychedelic imagery with naturalistic elements, assuming an otherworldly quality with undertones of hyperreality that has garnished exhibitions ranging from D'Amelio Terras gallery in New York, to Vleeshal, a state-run space in the Netherlands.

Originally influenced by '60s street photography, Bharoocha later began documenting nature to contrast the predominance of living in urban environments. Bharoocha explains, "As a person who grew up mostly in big cities like Tokyo and New York I was always seeing nature as something that felt displaced in urban environments. I now see it as an escape where people have to leave technology behind and I love the way people seem relaxed in nature when they are away from the devices that usually cling by their side."

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Informed by his consciousness of space, Bharoocha worked with multi-media artist Doug Aitken to create an atmospheric backdrop to cinematic art installation, Sleepwalkers. Aitken's Sleepwalkers, projected on eight exterior walls of New York's Museum of Modern Art, visually interconnects the tale of five New Yorkers over the span of one night. Bharoocha, along with an assembly of other percussionists, provided rhymthmic ambience, drummed out on a customized "sonic table" designed by Aitken known as the K-N-O-C-K-O-U-T. Frequent collaborators Bharoocha and Aitken have fortified a relationship that reflects Bharoocha's dedicated commitment to the arts. "I'm all about growing the creative community to expand in as many directions as possible," explains Bharoocha.

Bharoocha continues to expand his work, connecting with Japanese avant-garde group the Boredoms. Inspired by the concept of 77 drummers, Bharoocha and the Boredoms organized a free concert event entitled 77 Boadrum held in Brooklyn to coincide with 7 July 2007. The popularity of the event prompted an encore, entitled 88 Boadrum, facilitated by Bharoocha as musical director, held on 8 August 2008 at the La Brea Tar Pits in LA.

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Bharoocha has forged a spiritual relationship between drums and technology with stylings that range from the intensifying surge of his early musical inceptions, Lightning Bolt and Black Dice, to the aural atmosphere of his current project, Soft Circle (with a new release due early next year). Underlying Bharoocha's musical and artistic work is the meditative philosophy of Vispassana; an introspection that has clearly driven Bharoocha's diverse talents and communal spirit. Bharoocha muses, "I'm fascinated by the fact that we are all born with a certain path paved for us and depending on the choices we make along the way our lives change and differ drastically. I am fascinated by life and all its avenues."

Bharoocha and The Boredooms will be performing in Kyoto, Japan at Kyoto at Seika University on 2 November. The Boadrum events continue with the 111 Boadrum event held at Byron Bay Australia on 11 November 11 2011. Bharoocha has also developed a eyewear line entitled "Phosphorescence" through the Phos Project.

This story is part of an editorial series sponsored and inspired by Le Meridien.
New Perspectives explores fresh ideas and distinct points of view in global art and culture.

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