Jahrsgabe Edition 2021

Hiten Bawa

Visual Alphabets

These 30 artworks explore my three identities as a South African, as a deaf person and as an Indian person.
I use three different alphabets and combine them to represent my unique identity: the South African Sign Language alphabet, the hand signals used in the Johannesburg taxi industry and the dance mudra from classical Indian dance. Within these alphabets, the same common hand gesture can stand for a letter in a conversation, a destination in another setting and as a symbolic gesture in a dance performance.

Taxi hand signs and minibus taxis are uniquely South African and specific for Johannesburg due to the many segregated townships surrounding the city centre. To catch a taxi, locals use specific hand signs to indicate their destination. In artworks 1 to 17, I superimposed the taxi hand signs onto the maps of the destination at an urban scale.

Artworks 18 to 30 are collages of different hand shapes in a random arrangement as opposed to the alphabetical representation found in educational resources.

Hiten Bawa is an Artist, Architect and Accessibility Consultant based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Hiten is a profoundly deaf person with bilateral cochlear implants. He works primarily with acrylic paints, watercolours and inks to express his cultural identity and perspectives of people with disabilities.
He holds a Master of Architecture (Prof) degree from the University of Cape Town and runs his own creative practice called Studio HB. He had exhibited his work in South Africa, Japan and Spain and is currently working on a wide range of creative work from graphic novel to architectural illustrations, paintings and designing new houses.

all artworks: 21 ×30 cm

artwork 1-10: Charcoals, conte, pencils, gouache paints and archival inks on 270gsm watercolour paper.
artwork 11-17: Archival inks on 270gsm watercolour paper.
artwork 18-30: Pencils, india ink, acrylic and gouache paints on 300gsm Fabiano Artistico paper.

Hiten on Instagram

Jahresgabe Edition 2021

HB 1.01 - Taxi Sign for Joburg
HB 1.01 - Taxi Sign for Joburg
HB 1.02 - Taxi Sign for Hillbrow
HB 1.02 - Taxi Sign for Hillbrow
HB 1.03 - Taxi Sign for Alexandra
HB 1.03 - Taxi Sign for Alexandra - taken
HB 1.04 - Taxi Sign for Fourways
HB 1.04 - Taxi Sign for Fourways - taken
HB 1.05 - Taxi Sign for Newclare
HB 1.05 - Taxi Sign for Newclare
HB 1.06 - Taxi Sign for Randburg
HB 1.06 - Taxi Sign for Randburg - taken
HB 1.07 - Taxi Sign for Braamfontein
HB 1.07 - Taxi Sign for Braamfontein - taken
HB 1.08 - Taxi Sign for Lenasia
HB 1.08 - Taxi Sign for Lenasia - taken
HB 1.09 - Taxi Sign for Tembisa
HB 1.09 - Taxi Sign for Tembisa - taken
HB 1.10 - Taxi Sign for Soweto
HB 1.10 - Taxi Sign for Soweto - taken
HB 1.11 - Maps of Malboro Gardens
HB 1.11 - Maps of Malboro Gardens - taken
HB 1.12 - Maps of Lenasia
HB 1.12 - Maps of Lenasia
HB 1.13 - Maps of Johannesburg
HB 1.13 - Maps of Johannesburg
HB 1.14 - Maps of Fordsburg
HB 1.14 - Maps of Fordsburg
HB 1.15 - Maps of Alexandra
HB 1.15 - Maps of Alexandra - taken
HB 1.16 - Maps of Soweto
HB 1.16 - Maps of Soweto
HB 1.17 - Maps of Soweto
HB 1.17 - Maps of Soweto - taken
HB 1.18 - Taxi Sign Language
HB 1.18 - Taxi Sign Language - taken
HB 1.19 - Taxi Sign Language
HB 1.19 - Taxi Sign Language - taken
HB 1.20 - Taxi Sign Language
HB 1.20 - Taxi Sign Language - taken
HB 1.21 - SA Sign Language
HB 1.21 - SA Sign Language - taken
HB 1.22 - SA Sign Language
HB 1.22 - SA Sign Language - taken
HB 1.23 - SA Sign Language
HB 1.23 - SA Sign Language - taken
HB 1.24 - Indian mudras
HB 1.24 - Indian mudras
HB 1.25 - Indian mudras
HB 1.25 - Indian mudras - taken
HB 1.26 - Indian mudras
HB 1.26 - Indian mudras - taken
HB 1.27 - Indian mudras
HB 1.27 - Indian mudras - taken
HB 1.28 - Three identities
HB 1.28 - Three identities
HB 1.29 - Three identities
HB 1.29 - Three identities - taken
HB 1.30 - Three identities
HB 1.30 - Three identities - taken
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