photo - Luka Alagiyawanna
Abdul Halik Azeez’s work reflects on technologies of power as mediated through contemporary culture, lived experiences and media. He works across a range of mediums such as film, photography, video, digital interventions, writing, installation and publication.
Colombo’s dream to become a “World Class City” has been an active area of interest. Through processes of walking and seeing, ethnographic approaches, found images, online content and found objects, he looks for glitches in the urban landscape that can reveal subversive truths. Renewed forms of ethnic conflict, state violence etc. that have appeared in the post-war context have also occupied his attention through the documentation of riots and other forms of protest and unrest.
Drawing from a background in critical discourse analysis, a focus on media processes underlies his work. Current projects look at the affective charge of Tik Tok in ushering in novel forms of urban modernity and the role of Instagram in perpetuating the idea of Sri Lanka as an exotic travel destination. A project focussed on his family’s photo albums uses high resolution scanning and photoshop to search for ‘ghosts’, exploring the potential of retroactive processes of subjective memory as valid ways for minorities to counter hegemonic narratives.
Collaboration has played a key role in Azeez’s work. In 2019, he co-founded The Packet, a collective based in Sri Lanka born of an urgent need for artist-led spaces in the country. Over the past two years The Packet has worked extensively with publications and digital interventions including artist books, browser based art and site specific installations. Currently together with Jacqueline Poloni, he is co-organizing Wet Land, a group of artists from Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Switzerland who come together to explore artistic process together.