A visual, video, and installation artist, Asel Kadyrkhanova explores the fields of memory, trauma, and aesthetics by combining art practice with histories of art and cultural theory. She creates fascinating bodies of work employing the moving image, photography, sound, and embroidery. She is currently a doctoral student in Fine Art with Griselda Pollock at the University of Leeds, and her practice-led doctoral research focuses on memory and trauma in post-Soviet Kazakhstan.
Assel is especially interested in memory as a culturally produced construct, and in trauma as im-memory whose traces can persist in societies with traumatic pasts. Through her art, she seeks to touch upon recollection of historical traumas in Kazakhstan, such as the famine of the 1930-s, and total ethnic deportations. she is also interested in observing current metamorphoses in collective memory of the Soviet past, resulting in denials, nationalisms or nostalgia.
During her residency in the U.S., Asel wanted to meet with members of the Kazakh diaspora whose family histories might be related to the history of Great Terror in the USSR and to collaborate with artists dealing with different forms of political and historical trauma.