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Ayisha Abraham

Indian Contemporary Artist
Born 1963, London, UK
Lives and works in Bangalore, India

Ayisha Abraham works on installations and short digital films. She plays with the original form by cutting, repositioning, repeating pictures and sounds and chan­ging the scale, manipulating the usual into unusual and transporting viewer into an unknown territory. Her work often deals with issues such as migration of people from Nepal to Indian cities, while working on notions of memory, history and sociology alongside. Ayisha Abraham’s art is conceptual and addresses an International audience.



Masters in Fine Arts, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA


Bachelors in Fine Arts, M.S.U (Maharaja Sayajirao University), Baroda, India

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Abrahams' experimental films examine narratives of identity, memory and history

Ayesha creates experimental films that examine narratives of identity, memory, and history by playing with old, original images and sounds, giving them a new form through complex manipulation. For example - Straight 8 is part of a project by Ayisha Abraham that delves into the cultural history of amateur filmmakers in Bangalore and surrounding areas.

Though Straight 8 is based on real life incidents, it's not a life story; instead it captures fragmented memory by constructing images from already produced images, the recycled, found footage of objects aiming to examine non-professional creativity rather than inducing nostalgia. Her short film ‘One Way’ talks of labour migration from Nepal to Indian cities.

She has for many years worked with amateur film footage. She explores and expands dormant and archived potentials in terms of filmic materiality and its relation to historicity.

Ayisha Abraham, Straight 8, 2005

Ayisha Abraham uses photography as a technique

Ayisha Abraham uses photography as a technique to explorcontemporary issues in Sociology. This means she considers photography as a tool to explore new subjects and knowledge-areas, within the realm of societal frameworks of references.

In a project Ayisha experimented with the idea of picture postcards. She made a series of postcards titled ‘looks the other way’, that have images on one side, and a comment or a remark behind it. On each postcard she placed an altered image of a family member picked from studio photos. She wanted to show the way people shaped their identity on the basis of their outfits and poses from the pictures.

One of the postcards has a cutout of an English pith helmet placed on a disembodied pair of legs in knee-high military boots and on its back is written "With a different name he felt he could have access to more privileges”.

She uses photography to explore sociology

Ayisha draws inspiration from real- life incidents

Ayisha Abraham takes inspiration from her life incidents. In one of her works titled Night shift, an art installation is based on police brutality she saw in a case she was involved with in 2006. Carried out along with Dina Boswank, Ayisha’s work throws light on the injustice faced by Nepalis in our society. She narrates the incident in which a guard known to her was picked up by the police, along with several other Nepalis, because reports of theft in a part of the city. Convinced by her innocence she helps him out of the station. The artist focuses on the issue that if there is no one to fight for then we could just disappear like we never existed and urges the viewers to raise these issues in their society and neighborhood.

Ayisha Abraham, Night Shift, installation view

She constructs representations from already produced and imagined images

Ayisha builds her work from already produced and imagined images. She picks up found footage, images, and objects as her raw materials for her projects. Complex manipulations follow and give shape to the discarded material that is recycled and reused. She is on a constant lookout for amateur films 8mm, super 8mm, 16mm that could provide raw material for future projects. A very unique collection of junk, discarded objects and waste can be seen in her work.

The narratives in the amateur films along with narratives she figures out from them blur boundaries of the fact and fiction leading to a more subjective voice. She houses these memories and images, recounting the stories of an amateur filmmaker.

Ayisha Abraham, One Way