Level 2 Gallery: Illuminations: Lida Abdul

Lida Abdul
(born 1973, Afghanistan)

Dome reflects upon the possibility for regeneration in the face of devastation and isolation, using architectural destruction as a metaphor for human suffering. A small boy is shown circling alone in the centre of a bombed-out building on the outskirts of Kabul. Originally used to store archival material for the National Kabul Museum, the building is now an empty shell open to the elements. The camera follows the boy’s gaze around and upwards to reveal a roofless dome. Abdul’s work is characterised by an intense poetic sensibility that draws on the varied religious and cultural traditions of Afghanistan as well as Western art practices. Here the circular motion evokes the ritualistic movements of Sufi whirling dervishes, and suggests the cycles of renewal and rebirth associated with the spiritual philosophies of Buddhism and Hinduism. 


Lida Abdul was born in Kabul, Afghanistan in 1973. She lived in Germany and India as a refugee for a time following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, and subsequently moved to the United States. Her practice incorporates performance and film as well as photography and installation. Her solo presentation What We Saw Upon Awakening was held at Location One in New York, autumn 2007 and her work has been included in many group shows internationally including the 2005 Venice Biennale, and exhibitions at Kunsthalle Vienna, CAC Centre d’art contemporain de Brétigny and Frac Lorraine Metz, France.