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Sarah Urist Green

(b Kabul, June 5, 1973).

Afghan video and performance artist and photographer, active also in the USA. After fleeing Soviet-occupied Kabul with her family in the late 1980s, Abdul lived as a refugee in Germany and India before moving to Southern California. She received a BA in Political Science and Philosophy at California State University, Fullerton, and an MFA at the University of California, Irvine, in 2000. Abdul first returned to a post-Taliban Afghanistan in 2001, where she encountered a place and people transformed by decades of violence and unrest. Since that time, Abdul has made work in Kabul and Los Angeles, staging herself in performances and creating performance-based video works and photography that explore ideas of home and the interconnection between architecture and identity.

Beginning in the late 1990s, Abdul made emotionally intense performance art informed by that of Yugoslavian artist Marina Abramović and Cuban-born American artist Ana Mendieta. At the time unable to travel to Afghanistan, Abdul created and documented performances in Los Angeles that probed her position as Afghan, female, Muslim, a refugee and a transnational artist. In ...

Article

Susan Kart

(b Nairobi, 1958).

Kenyan photographer, multimedia and performance artist, and teacher of Indian descent, active in the USA. DeSouza was born in Kenya to Indian parents. Raised in London from the age of 7, he called his background that of a ‘double colonial history’. DeSouza attended Goldsmiths College in London and the Bath Academy of Art, and although he has worked primarily in photography and as a writer on contemporary art, he has also branched out into performance art, digital painting, and textual and mixed media arts. He moved to the USA in 1992 and in 2012 became of Head of Photography at the University of California, Berkeley.

The primary themes in deSouza’s work are those of colonial encounter, seen in Indigena/Assimilado (1998), a photographic series of migrant workers in Los Angeles; migration, as explored in Threshold (1996–8), his early photographic series of airports empty of people; exile, which he explored in ...

Article

David Spalding

(b Ha Tien, Nov 16, 1968).

Vietnamese conceptual artist. Lê was born near the Cambodian border, but fled with his family when his hometown was invaded by the Khmer Rouge in 1979. Lê moved to Los Angeles and studied photography at the University of California, Santa Barbara and received his MFA from the School of Visual Arts, New York in 1992. In 1989, while at the University of California, Lê enrolled in a class on the Vietnam War (1955–75) that emphasized American hardship. This sparked Lê’s earliest public art project, Accountability, a series of posters that Lê put up on his college campus (reproduced in 1992 for Creative Time, New York, Washington, DC, and Los Angeles). These posters juxtaposed American media images of the Vietnam War with explicit pictures of Vietnamese suffering, accompanied by captions detailing the damage done to Vietnam. The desire to intervene in dominant perceptions of the Vietnam War propelled Lê for much of his artistic career....

Article

Peter A. Nagy

(b Bangalore, Nov 9, 1956).

Indian photographer and performance artist. Pushpamala abbreviated her family name, a standard custom in South India, and she has refused to disclose what the N. stands for. She received a degree in economics, English and psychology from Bangalore University and then studied sculpture at the M.S. University in Baroda, in the western Indian state of Gujarat (1985). Her early works, mostly in terracotta, were figurative, resembling dolls and puppets and often arranged in groups. By the mid-1990s she was experimenting with found objects and with crafting objects by hand. Among her most successful works of this period was Labyrinth (1994; see 2004 exh. cat.); a circle of charred wooden sandals, such as those usually worn by holy men in India, implying a cyclical connection between religion and violence.

In 1996 Pushpamala embarked on what she referred to as ‘photo-performances’. These were elaborately staged scenarios in which she played the lead role, sometimes joined by other actors and almost always dramatically filmed. While indebted to Cindy Sherman’s ...

Article

Ismeth Raheem

( George Henricus )

(b Colombo, Dec 3, 1900; d Colombo, Dec 20, 1944).

Ceylonese photographer and musician . He was introduced to photography at a very early age during visits to A. W. Andree’s home and studio. It was only in the last ten years before his death that he returned to the medium with greater dedication and seriousness. Between 1919 and 1924 he qualified as a barrister in England and also became an accomplished pianist after studying at the Royal Academy of Music. Four years after his return from England he abandoned his legal career and became a pianist, often accompanying renowned foreign musicians at recitals in Colombo.

By 1930 Wendt’s involvement in the arts had earned him a pivotal place in the development of the modern movement in Ceylon. Alborada, his new residence in Colombo, which he designed and decorated in a contemporary style with prints and his own photographs, became a centre for intellectuals such as the painter George Keyt (...