Asma Sultana is a Bangladeshi-born British freelance visual artist living and working in Canada. After graduating in Drawing and Painting from Bangladesh, she trained in Fine Arts and History of Art in London and Toronto. As a freelance artist, Asma organized many solo exhibitions and participated in many group exhibitions in Canada, England, India, and Bangladesh. She uses the unique signature of her body to explore her identity in time and space. Using her own hair or thumbprints, she engraves her emotions on canvas, paper, or fabric to express the inimitable chaos of her inner and outer world.
Artist’s Statement :
My work is an excavation of my memories to dissect, disassemble, reassemble, and reinterpret the life experiences that underpin my Identity. The Identity once shaped by the socio-cultural milieu of my origin has been fractured, and I had to recreate myself by crystallizing the principles that sieve through my experiences as an exile and a nomad. My artworks thus represent a soliloquy, a stream of consciousness that conveys the dialogues I want to share. I try to recreate those inimitable personal experiences that simultaneously have roots in our collective experiences through an awareness of intersectionality.
To tap into the enormous energy of an assembling identity, I build a bridge of physical connection to my work. I use thumbs and fingers instead of brushes or pencils to draw with ink on paper or different surfaces. Besides, I use my hair instead of thread to do embroideries or needlework, make dresses, patterns, et cetera. I use used objects from my daily life and modify them with my discarded and uprooted hair, all I have stored with care. I wanted to give them a place in my art. The process of collecting, cleaning and storing hair one by one is like a ritual for me, carefully arranged activities like taking care of an infant. This is also a way to develop a kind of bilateral relationship with myself, I am my mother, and I am my child.
My artworks are permeated with experiences of solitude and displacement. I try to distil all these anguishes into my works by weaving them like a tapestry. They are also time machines to recreate the time lost and souvenirs of sacrifices. How they shifted my perspectives in recreating my Identity in the crucible of life. Alienation, exile, migration, emptiness, and void left by the lost dreams and recurrent nightmares of the future passed are some of the ingredients of my alchemy to achieve my own process of chrysopoeia: the transmutation of losses into my artistic expressions, my own philosopher’s stone.