Asim Abdulaziz lives and works in Aden, YE
Asim Abdulaziz is a visual artist, photographer, and filmmaker. His emerging practice explores the psychoaffective implications of living in a country ravaged by ongoing war. The photographic series Homesick (2020), for example, depicts Yemeni. women in destroyed interiors, the title suggesting both a yearning to return to a time before the war as well as the morbid estrangement of living among the ceaseless ruins that are product of the conflict.
The short experimental film 1941 (2021) explores the sense of disorientation and alienation experienced by Yemenis. After learning that knitting was a significant way for women in the United States to participate in the war effort during World War II, Abdulaziz was struck by how, in contemporary Yemen, knitting as an act of solidarity in a time of war would seem entirely absurd. The repetitive nature of the hand movement guiding the needles and stitching the wool thread distracts one from pondering the past and future, locking the knitter into a timeless present. By staging the practice in Yemen, Abdulaziz draws an embodied metaphor around the quotidian experience of war—captive to the logic of survival—that inhibits projecting oneself into a future of self-realization. Moreover, in a gender role reversal that further accentuates the strangeness of implementing this action in Yemen, the artist cast ten men of different generations and filmed them knitting with red wool inside one of Aden’s historical landmarks: a Hindu temple long abandoned to decay. He disrobed them—the men are shirtless, a provocative gesture in a prudish culture, which underlines the act’s absurdity. 1941 is an eloquent and compelling poetic meditation on war’s prohibition of claiming agency over time and self.
Homesick – Art In Isolation, 2020, MEI Art Gallery, Washington, D.C. (US)
Ways of protest, 2020, Elysium Gallery, Swansea (UK)
Tell Me About Your Anxiety, 2020, Arsheef, Sana (YE) (online)
Turn of the Light, 2019, Arsheef, Sana (YE)
02 Exhibition, 2019, Roshan Art House, Aden (YE)