Born 1976 in Jang-e-Aghli, Afghanistan. A refugee since 2002. Deported from Denmark in the spring of 2004, currently seeking asylum in Norway
© Asif Mufeed
Asif Mufeed, “The Chair,” 2003. © Asif Mufeed
Asif Mufeed's work focuses on the socio-political situation in contemporary Afghanistan as well as on the conditions of refugee subjects having been forced to leave the country. A refugee himself, his work is motivated partly by the tragic history of his native country, partly by his own living conditions as a refugee. Mufeed grew up in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan, and despite the fact that art making has never been socially accepted in official Afghanistan for religious reasons, he was able to pursue his artistic interests because of the support of his liberal family. During his teens, when the Mujahideen war lords took control of Afghanistan after the Soviet withdrawal, Mufeed grew increasingly aware of the rapid deterioration of Afghan civil society and human rights and decided to turn his art into a tool for critical, political commentary on the forces in power. He thus began producing critical caricatures of various Mujahideen leaders, of which around fifty sketches were published in the monthly satirical magazine Shokhak during the period of 1993-95. In 1994, Mufeed entered the University of Balkh in Mazar-i-Sharif to study engineering. There, he became involved with the student movement and the intellectual circles of the city and secretly began distributing some of his caricatures among the student body and on the Internet. Because of his growing reputation as a political visual artist, Mufeed had to flee Mazar-i-Sharif and go into hiding in Jang-e-Aghli. From his hometown, he learnt that his family, who had stayed behind, was forced to destroy most of his art works because of the Taleban take-over of the city in 1999. Isolated in the small village of Jang-e-Aghli, Mufeed began contemplating his possible flight out of Afghanistan, ending up in Denmark where his application for asylum was dismissed in 2004. Mufeed is best known for his “The Chair” project, a series of drawings from 2002-04 of himself and other refugees in various Danish refugee camps, waitinÅsa Sonjasdotterg for their case to be processed. The series testifies to the state of waiting while be incarcerated indefinitely and not knowing the outcome. Mufeed has had a solo show at instituteforcontemporaryart (ink) in Copenhagen, Denmark, in spring 2004 and participated in Socle du Monde at Herning Art Museum, Denmark, in summer 2004 with “A life = ,” a carpet illustrating his situation as a refugee produced in collaboration with artist Åsa Sonjasdotter and Ege Carpets A/S, which was subsequently donated to the Danish Minister of Integration, Bertel Haarder.
Contribution: Participates in Station 2: Aarhus Art Building, Aarhus, with “The Chair,” 2002-04. Series of drawings, pencil on paper, A3 format. Courtesy of the artist. Mufeed also participates with “A life = ,” 2004. Carpet, 2 x 4 m., produced in collaboration with artist Åsa Sonjasdotter and Ege Carpets A/S. Courtesy of the artists.