Asif Mian’s subject matter is undeniably personal. His aim, however, is not linear
narrative; he seeks, rather, more complicated dialogue. In Mian’s own words:
"Shortly after turning 20, my estranged father was murdered in Terrell, Texas.
There were few leads; the killer was never found. I obsessively reenacted the
event in my mind. News of distant shootings became suddenly intimate. While
the violence of daily life repulses me, I am fascinated by its visceral power.
When crowds gather to watch a fight, what holds them? Why do I stop?"
Following the Trump administration’s travel ban on Muslims, members of local
Yemeni-American communities organized demonstrations outside Brooklyn’s
Borough Hall. Hundreds gathered around the building, praying together. This
event catalyzed Mian: the use of ritual as protest; the peaceful, collective action -
a striking visual counterpoint to pervasive association of Islam with violence. As
Mian explains: "Born to Pakistani immigrants and raised in a Muslim household,
it is vital to confront certain depictions that permeate American culture."
At the intersection of sculpture, performance and filmmaking, Asif Mian unpacks
and reimagines conventional notions of faith, masculinity, and violence. While his
art is cerebral, it is also immediate and unmistakable. Mian’s diverse, everevolving
body of work demonstrates a rare fearlessness. He creates what others
might consider, but would never attempt.