Untitled 1 [from the Fragmented memories series]

Khadim ALI: artist

Not On Display

About the work

Khadim Ali is an artist of Afghan Hazara descent. He studied mural painting and calligraphy in Iran, and miniature painting at the National College of Arts in Lahore, Pakistan. In this work he combines both skills.

Ali grew up hearing from his grandfather the recitation of the Book of Kings (Shahnama), a late 10th century epic poem composed by Firdousi that marks the beginning of modern Persian language. The poem recounts the virtuosity and shortcomings of kings from the beginning of time to the advent of Islam but also of the powerful forces beyond them, epitomised by the divs or daemons. Reflecting on the way his people, the Hazara, have been treated and persecuted since the 1920s, Ali has used the divs from the miniature paintings illustrating the epic, as an allegory of the Hazara:

My demons are the story of my historical self and a people who are displaced and shelterless around the world … Demonising is the dehumanising of the Hazaras and forcing them to an indescribable dominion where they must engage in a civil law that does not protect them.

In this work, the daemons observe the Australian Army presence in Afghanistan after 2001. They sit in front of an Australian flag, quietly taking in the action around them. The outer edge of the work includes stylised fruiting pomegranate trees: a symbol across continents and centuries of life and immortality, and in Islam one of four trees that one can find in paradise.

This work comes from a series called Fragmented Memories, where the artist pieces together his childhood recollections, places he was forced to live in and those he has chosen to live in, war, conflict and ideology that have shaped his life and that of others: a process many migrants, refugees and the diaspora go through to make sense of their own past.
Untitled 1 [from the Fragmented memories series]
Artist/Maker and role
Khadim ALI: artist
gouache, gold leaf and ink
170.0 x 214.5 cm (framed, nine individual components)
Credit line
Purchased through The Art Gallery of Western Australia Foundation: TomorrowFund, 2019
The State Art Collection, The Art Gallery of Western Australia
Accession number

View all works by Khadim ALI (Pakistani, b.1978)

This is one of the drawings in our collection.