“The way I want people to experience my work is to embrace it. I leave a lot of it open to interpretation. I would like either the person that has collected the work or the person that has seen it in a gallery setting to bring their own selves into the work, to add themselves to the canvas and really connect with it.”
Asif Hoque (b. 1991, Italy) is known for his exploration and celebration of Brown bodies through epic mythological scenes, in which angelic figures and ancient beasts erupt from raw linen canvas and swirling clouds to claim space and reverence.
As a Bangladeshi immigrant raised between Rome and South Florida, Hoque draws on his own experience to figuratively and stylistically merge aspects of multicultural identity within his painting practice. Combining his early fascination with the classical fine arts with a palette of earthy browns and neutrals, Hoque infers the importance of more diverse representation of skin colour in the visual arts.
The contemporary merges with the ancient in Hoque’s romantic and dramatised narratives, tapping into to the timeless and universal penchant for great story-telling. In his lauded series, Lover’s Rock, Italian Renaissance painting traditions set the scene with familiar backdrops of winged deities and cupids with nocked bows engaging in divine duties from converging clouds. Snarling lions enter the stage as symbols of bravery in many cultures, including Bangladesh, whilst the mighty horses upon which the protagonists ride pay homage to the distinctive Bankura horse native to West Bengal. In referencing both Western and South Asian art historical canons, Hoque creates spaces within which broader racial representation and cultural hybridity can manifest.
Asif Hoque lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Recent solo exhibitions include: Half Gallery (LA), Yossi Milo Gallery (NYC), Taymour Grahne Projects (London), Mindy Solomon (Miami), and New Image Art Gallery (Los Angeles).