Features

Aziza Shadenova

Shadenova’s work is multidisciplinary, exploring painting, photography, moving image and installation. Similarly, the artist tackles a breadth of pertinent themes and issues in her work, reflecting on her cultural upbringing throughout the turbulence of the Post-Soviet period, whilst examining global issues such as crises in ecology and identity.

All images Courtesy by the artist

In particular, Shadenova has been influenced by the twentieth-century avant-garde and the ‘Theatre of the Absurd’. As the artist explains: “I define my practice as a visual absurdist poetry. The majority of my work is based around humour and absurdism involved in dysfunctional mental states, immigration and perception of life.” Yet within the array of media and breadth of themes, her works are ultimately rooted in identity and the crossroads between Central Asian traditions and westernisation.

Shadenova’s expansive practice explores the nuances of identity and being in our contemporary moment, whilst carefully consulting histories and memory. The plait predominantly features throughout her works as a symbol of Central Asian identity and histories, particularly in relation to women. In the exhibition Post Nomadic Mind (2018), Shadenova carefully observed grandmothers, mothers, and daughters. She noticed the way in which their long hair would be tied or plaited when faced with hard work. The installation featured sheep fleece, a central source of survival in Nomadic life. The sheep were therefore both the source of their life (and so, longer hair) and labour. The Homemaker featured dramatically long plaits draped over glass cylinders stuffed with sheep’s wool, recognising the perseverance and labour of women from nomadic times to present day.

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