British artist Shezad Dawood (b.1974) works across film, painting and sculpture and juxtaposes discrete systems of image, language, site and historical narrative. He generates a critical examination of identity somewhere between the surreal and the real by exploring questions of authorship and representation, and by processing cross-cultural influences and trajectories into a highly referential and multi-layered visual language. Various visual systems converge: The viewer is confronted with aesthetics of science fiction and the occult, styles reminiscent of the surrealist films of Salvador Dali and Jean Cocteau, juxtapositions of absolute abstraction with complete figuration, and citations of avant-garde theatre, art-house and low-budget filmmaking.
Strongly influenced by his background - Dawood grew up in the UK with a Pakistani mother and Indian father - by his travels, elaborate studies and research, and deeply interest in the fantastical and mysticism, the artist creates extraordinary semi-fictitious episodes and narratives with otherworldly protagonists. It is his seemingly inexhaustible imagination in combination with his exceptionally informed practice that allow Dawood to succeed at one of art’s most difficult ambitions: to examine fundamental questions of being and their significance to humanity.
Shezad Dawood often works in collaboration with groups and individuals across different disciplines to physically and conceptually map far-reaching lines of enquiry. His work has been exhibited internationally, including at Marrakech Biennale, 2014; MACBA Barcelona, 2014; Modern Art Oxford, Oxford, 2012; Busan Biennale, 2010, as part of Altermodern, curated by Nicolas Bourriaud, Tate Britain, London, 2009; and at the 53rd Venice Biennale, 2009. Recent projects include the feature film Piercing Brightness, 2013, and a solo exhibition at Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art, London, 2014. Dawood is a Jarman Award nominee, 2012, and one of the winners of the Abraaj Capital Art Prize, 2011. He also is Research Fellow in Experimental Media at the University of Westminster, London.
Shezad Dawood lives and works in London.