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Lida Abdul

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Kabul, Afghanistan

Birth year

Lives in

Works in






In my work, I try to juxtapose the space of  politics with the space of reverie, almost absurdity, the space of shelter with that of the desert; in all of this I try to perform the ‘blank spaces’ that  are formed when everything is taken away from people.  How do we come face to face with ‘nothing’ with ‘emptiness’ where there was something earlier?  I was a refugee  myself for a few years, moving from one country to another, knowing  full well that at every juncture I was a guest who at any moment might to  asked to leave.  The refugee’s world is a portable one, allowing for  easy movement between borders.  It is one that can be taken away as easily as it was given: provisionally and with a little anxiety on the part of the host. 


Sometimes people say, I am post-identity, post-nation, etc.. I don’t know what this means.  For me the most difficult thing is precisely to go past the memory of an event; my works are the forms of my failed attempts to, what others call, transcend.  But what?  For me art is always a petition for another world , a momentary shattering of what is comfortable so that we become more sophisticated in reclaiming the present. The new wandering souls of the globe, the new global refuseniks —stubborn, weak, persecuted, strong—will continue to make art as long as people believe in easy solutions and closures of the most banal kinds.


-Lida Abdul



Adbul was born in Kabul, Afghanistan in 1973, and resides there now.


During the former-Soviet invasion, Abdul fled Afghanistan and lived in Germany and India as a refugee.  Her work fuses the tropes of ‘Western” formalism with the numerous aesthetic traditions--Islamic, Buddhist, Hindu, pagan and nomadic--that collectively influenced Afghan art and culture. She has produced work in many media including video, film, photography, installation and live performance. Her most recent work has been featured at the Venice Biennale 2005, Istanbul Modern, Kunsthalle Vienna, Museum of Modern Art Arnhem, Netherlands and Miami Central, CAC Centre d'Art Contemporain de Bretigny, and Frac Lorraine Metz, France. She has also exhibited in festivals in Mexico, Spain, Germany, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan.  She was a featured artist at the Central Asian Biennial 2004. For the past few years, Abdul has been working in different parts of Afghanistan on projects exploring the relationship between architecture and identity.

Recent Exhibits

Lida Abdul participated in these exhibits:

May, 2015 Gimme Shelter
Kunstfort bij Vijfhuizen
Sep, 2014 Shifting Sands: Recent Videos from the Middle East
Arizona State University Art Museum
Dec, 2012 What we have overlooked
Museum Arnhem
May, 2010 Spatial City: An Architecture of Idealism
Hyde Park Art Center
Feb, 2010 Krieg / Individuum
AZKM Muenster
Feb, 2010 Lida Abdul
Anna Schwartz Gallery (Melbourne)
Click here to see all exhibits for Lida Abdul
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