Asiyla Radwan was born in Alexandria and grew up in Egypt and Sudan before moving to the UK. Despite a promising legal career and a writer’s love for the analytical and discursive, Asiyla took the plunge in 2015 and began a Fine Art degree at Oxford University.
From her early days in a tiny village outside Cairo to her teenage years working on her family’s farm: the UK’s first organic and halal farm, she has always felt an instinctive and powerful connection to the environment. The motifs and visual vocabulary used in her paintings are sourced from the man-made as well as the natural world and in her work she brings these often disparate elements into an uneasy harmony.
Marked by her early days in Egypt that left her partially blind and with an ever-present awareness of the subjectivity of one’s worldview. She incorporates perspectives real and imagined into her work — Questioning the status of outsider, she nevertheless finds familiarity in narratives of the out of place and the ‘other’.
A tick in the Mixed/Other box might give you a hint as to who a person is, their home, the way they wear their scarf, but no one fragment will give you the whole of the person. In my works, I’m drawn towards fragmented and ambiguous realities. Half finished histories, long-destroyed buildings, the questionable space where a legal wrong might become a practical right.
I pull together hours of painstaking research into bold abstract compositions that often give very little hint of their origins but engage the viewer through their own secrets and hidden edges. I’m interested in the flexible narratives of abstraction where, as in life, there is no agreed start or end point.