The haunted lotus
Khadim Ali The haunted lotus 2013 (detail), gouache, ink and gold leaf on wasli paper, 70 × 54 cm. Image courtesy the artist and Milani Gallery, Brisbane © the artist
AGNSW Contemporary Project
The haunted lotus considers family, the Hazara people and culture, and the emergence of a lawless society in contemporary Afghanistan.
In this exhibition Khadim Ali wrestles with the violence he experienced in Afghanistan through images that interpret a mythological past – the 10th-century Persian epic poem the Shahnameh or ‘Book of kings’.
Influenced by Persian miniatures, his images on paintings and rugs depict demons from the Shahnameh in a complex act of identification with demonised – or dehumanised – people.
‘My demons are the story of my historical self and a people who are displaced and shelterless in the world. Demonising is the dehumanising of the Hazaras and forcing them to an indescribable dominion where they must abide by a civil law that does not protect them.’ – Khadim Ali, 2013
Made in collaboration with weavers in Afghanistan, this is the first time Ali has used the medium of rug-making. It was the survival of a rug from Ali’s bombed home – a treasure ‒ that made, for him, the connection with the exhibition Afghanistan: hidden treasures from the National Museum, Kabul.
AGNSW Contemporary Projects are supported by Andrew Cameron
6 Mar – 1 Jun 2014