Throughout Clara Hali’s prolific career she has been fascinated with the human condition. Inspired by Western figurative art, as well as Indian and South East Asian sculpture and cultures, Clara expresses the beauty and power of the human form in quiet repose or dynamic stance. As she explains, “My ideas are personal, but transferable. As humans we have similar experiences and part of the reason that I am doing the work that I do, is to communicate my experience as a common experience: our shared quest for finding balance and stability within our lives.” The materiality of Clara’s work, predominantly bronze, alludes to shared qualities of strength and independence that she attributes to all people. Her journey with the human form has been influenced by the landscape that surrounds her home in the Blue Mountains. Clara captures the strength and vulnerability of human nature through the precarious rock formations that are characteristic of this region. Art Curator Peter Haynes, writes, “For her the landscape shapes us and provides solace and space for contemplation. That the landscape is susceptible to the exigencies of nature as we are, is expressed in Hali’s androgynous, yet purposefully not fully articulated, female forms.” These works reveal a combined mastery of technique and creative vision developed over her extensive career. Strength and softness, abstraction and figurative form are all evoked in Clara’s quietly powerful works.
Clara Hali studied sculpture at the National Art School in Sydney and later some engineering and ornamental ironwork at the Sydney Institute of Technology. She has been a lecturer at the National Art School since 1988 and completed her Masters of Fine Art there in 2007. A finalist in numerous prizes including, most recently, the 2023 Wynne Prize, Clara has exhibited extensively and her work is represented in collections including Macquarie University (Sydney), University of Sydney, Cottesloe City Council (Perth) and corporate collections.