Asuf Ishaq   

Articles of Home (Excerpt)
HD Film 2022
10 mins

Asuf Ishaq’s new moving image work Articles of Home narrates migration experience as told through a relationship with objects and places, things left behind by the artist's mother when she migrated to Britain. Drawing inspiration from Édouard Glissant, the piece will incorporate land and soil, recognising its symbolic significance as both a beginning and an endpoint, a transtemporal portal, an archive of migration. 

Image Behaviour is the ICA’s annual convening dedicated to experiments in artists’ moving image, in partnership with Dr. Martens. Unfolding in the ICA Theatre, Image Behaviour presents new works by eight artists. 

Encompassing multi-screen projections, live performances, and a symposium and seminar series, the programme encourages a dynamic dialogue between artist and audience, as staged interventions interact with – and exist within – moving image environments. Alongside screenings of standalone works, many artists perform in or alongside their work – exploring the evolving role of moving image in the visual arts.

Recipient of ICA film production award for Image Behaviour 2021

Artist page

Institute of Contemprary Arts, Image Behviour page

ICA Image Behaviour photograph by Christa Holka 21 April 2022

Below stills from the film Articles of Home

Mother (Excerpt)
HD Film
16 minutes

In my recent film ‘Mother’, I explore the back story of a fifty year old photograph of my mother, and draw out memories and thoughts. I move through spaces, gathering up histories and memories that are lost or covered over in the movement of displacement, and begin to produce new knowledge. I explore the photograph with my mother, and involve her in my practice, a space where we normally would not overlap. I sensually explore both the surface of skin and of the photograph, untangling my mothers memories and thoughts. Bright space of the virtual environment, my reality, where the photograph is in the process of being restored. Photograph is a transitional and a transnational object, objects can be considered as any external object that a person partially incorporates in the process. Different times and spaces are explored, similar position in the house where the wall is always present and standing. Just as my mothers faith and pray, always solid as the wall and constant in her life, which has got her through difficult times.

Shown at Groundings online group screening at Goldsmiths CCA 2021

Goldsmiths CCA


Shown at Whitechapel Gallery The London Open exhibition 2022, Whitechapel Gallery, London June - September 2022

Below: Image from the exhibition at Goldsmiths MFA exhibition October 2020

Becoming Nature (2018)
60x16 cm
Cast into cement and plaster 

Selected for Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2021,
part of a group exhibition at South London Gallery 2021/22, and Firstsite Gallery, Colchester 2021

New Contemporaries digital platform artist page and interveiw

New Contemporaries website artist page

Shown also at a group exhibition, ‘Sight for Sore Eyes’, at Gossamer Fog gallery, London in 2018

Ishaq makes casts of his own diasporic body, knees and elbows, which resemble perhaps a giant bean or a seed to be grown and nurtured. Burying to promise of return. Parts of the body carry archive of sensorial memory that transmits experiences, evocations and traumas across generations.
Conceptually, I draw inspiration from Édouard Glissant’s writing, specifically Poetics of Relation, his conception of Rhizomatic and fluid identity, and ideas of rootedness and uprootedness. Ishaq’s practice incorporates land and soil, recognizing its symbolic significance as both a beginning and an endpoint, a transtemporal portal, an archive of migration. 

Becoming Nature from Asuf Ishaq on Vimeo.

Not Quite Alive
(2018/19) at Goldsmiths
3D CGI & HD Film and sculptural installation

MFA Interim exhibition 2018/19, Goldsmiths, London. Film and sculptural installation exibited 

The film begins with a translucent head rising from the soil, comprehending its own corporeality and surveying its surroundings, perhaps an alien life form dropped into the woodland, or a terrestrial being exhumed from the soil. In this landscape, things and sounds are disorientated, inverted and displaced. The movement of the trees above appears unfamiliar and cybernated, and the psithurism is electronic

Represents the silenced objects or things in the racial imaginary in which people are reduced to the non-human, and classed as lesser species, in another words closer to ‘nature’. He incorporates land and soil, recognizing its symbolic significance as both a beginning and an endpoint, a transtemporal portal, an archive of migration.

For Foucault, the body is a static conduit for biopower, but perhaps here it is also more active. Maybe the transhuman body in Not Quite Alive is a mediator, a translator, a prosthetic mouthpiece for the archival, passive yet omniscient soil and the legacies of colonialism carved into it. Its testimony, a detuned, ambiguous voice, recites lines from Sun Ra’s The Satellites Are Spinning: ‘The satellites are spinning / A new day is dawning / The galaxies are waiting / For planet Earth’s awakening.’ (Sun Ra, 2020). Satellites must spin to remain stable in relation to the rotation of the Earth. They must be dynamic and evolving but outwardly appear constant. (Text by curator Christy O'Beirne)

Tape Letter
HD Film
2 mins 30 secs

In this film Ishaq re-acts the recordings his mother recording a voice letter to her family in Kashmir.

Tape letters or voice recordings of the 1960’s/70’s diaspora communities in UK, a British history that included Ishaq’s parents from Kashmir. I am exploring these intimate relationships and communication through technology, and voice messages. This is ongoing new project, Bishopsgate Institute London have an archive of tape cassette letter recordings of Pakistani’s who migrated to United Kingdom. 

Ishaq’s works in ‘hybridity’ or hybrid forms, just as I navigate through my cultural identity. Mixing documentary, fiction, personal, and experimental genres, as well as different media and mediums, such as cement/plaster, metal, film and photography. By pushing the limits of any one of these genre, this hybrid way of working forces each genre to explain itself, to forgo any transparent relationship to the reality it represents, and to make evident the knowledge claims on which it is based. My way of working is in a position to do archeology, to dig up the traces that the dominant culture overlooks, and for that matter any fixed cultural organization.