Home » Beyond the Self: contemplating portraiture from Asia

Beyond the Self: contemplating portraiture from Asia

Last weekend I went to an amazing show in Canberra. It’s called Beyond the Self: contemporary portraiture from Asia and is showing at the National Portrait Gallery. Here’s the link. It’s a kind of survey of contemporary self-portraiture in Asia. Much of the work is an on-going dialogue of contemporary themes such as politics, the re-writing of history and the impacts of modernisation on the highly ritualised and religious cultures across Asia.

Two artists in particular gathered me in for significant periods of looking and thinking time.

The first is Nusra Latif Qureshi. In Did you come here to find history? Qureshi recreates her own image in the image of historical characters. In doing so she comments on the role of personal stories in history and on historiography. It’s a beautiful piece; a digital print on clear film some 8 metres in length.

The second artist who is well worth a look is Nadiah Bamadhaj. She uses charcoal on paper to map her own face. Little pieces of paper are shaped and torn and reassembled on top of each other as a topographical map – reconstructing the self into a reflection of place – in Landlocked, tiny images of orderly townhouses are literally tattooed onto her upper arm making poignant comment on various architectural and town planning restrictions to control and regulate daily life in Malaysia.

Well worth a look!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *