Avantika Bawa's exhibit opens today at Columbus Museum

Avantika Bawa believes in minimalism in art. So for her installation of “Re: Re: Re: New Work by Avantika Bawa,” she began making straight lines and curvy shapes on the walls of the downstairs gallery at the Columbus Museum. She had the help of two Columbus State University art majors, Dominic Smith, 22, a senior from Columbus and Liz Lara, 19, a junior from Atlanta.

The exhibit opens today.

A native of New Delhi, India, Bawa has spent the last 14 years in Georgia, the last 10 teaching at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah and Atlanta. She recently took a position teaching art at Washington State University.

Bawa laughs when she says Washington and Atlanta are different “in every way.”

“I will be hiking and teaching at Washington State University. I’ll also be recycling, composting and teaching.”

Before last Friday, she had been in Columbus twice to scout out locations for her installations in the museum.

“My work is very much about the space and the architecture, the history of the space and its function,” she said.

Bawa takes into account the physical architecture of the entire space. She especially liked that the Columbus Museum has the vow to preserve early American art, yet has a collection of contemporary art as well.

Smith and Lara were chosen by CSU gallery director Hanna Israel to help Bawa.

Lara said drawing straight lines is admittedly tedious, but she can’t wait to see the finished project.

The project will take a look at the behind-the-scenes decision-making processes for the museum, she said.

On Sunday, she will teach “minimalist conceptualism for kids to understand.”

Bawa is aware that some visitors will say, “this is not art,” but she defends her work. It will show a different take on art, she said. One that is “very simple and really free.”