Malina Suleiman

Malina Suliman (1990) is an artist from Kabul. 

This text was recently published on the website of the JvE in Maastricht where Malina is a 2023-2024 resident:

"My artistic practice is deeply rooted in my personal history and circumstances as a Refugee woman form Afghanistan. I was born in Kandahar, and attended the Fine Arts Bachelor Program in Karachi, Pakistan in 2009. Upon returning to Afghanistan, I started my practice in contemporary and street art in order to raise awareness around youth’s and women’s rights. My work generated public discussion around the issues of violence against young women, resulting in mobilization for social justice.

Due to political and safety concerns I was forced to leave Afghanistan and I am currently residing in The Netherlands. This transition to a new continent has had a deep impact in my life in terms of questioning, learning and unlearning almost everything I knew about myself and my profession. The label of Refugee comes with all-round challenges, especially for an artist. These include the social stigma, financial precarity, keeping my identity intact while opening to a different culture, and personal and professional limits 

Living in the Netherlands has also given me different learning opportunities. I received my MFA from the Dutch Art Institute and in 2016 was awarded the prestigious Artist Protection Fund (APF) Fellowship and collaborating with Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven. Both my studies in Pakistan and the new opportunities encountered in the Netherlands, have shaped and informed my practice in a unique way. 

My art projects seek to explore urban space as a multitude of flows of mobility and diasporas of peoples and knowledges. Through embracing and exploring the displacement of cultural artifacts and people, my artworks question the fundamental artificiality of culture as well as a critique of the multi-cultural context. My artistic practice examines conflicts resulting from the juxtaposition of collective identity with exiled identities and how their signifies unite the thoughts, ideas, experiences, and dialogues of different people and cultures.

By practicing conceptual, performative, and research-oriented processes, my work has always been a tool for social and political critique, and the exploration of the mechanisms behind social exclusion, discrimination, and inequality, as well as the various hierarchies concerning gender, class, race, ethnicity and citizenship that mark different territorialities. My work seeks to pose questions concerning daily life and struggles of survival while setting forth thoughts on our ancestry and identity, as well as possibilities and ideas for cooperation."


Learn more about Malina Suleiman’s 20 minute presentation How far is the reach of the paternalistic art institution? How far and how long does it stretch into the artist’s personal life? for Do The Right Thing! - DAI's 3 day marathon of acts, lectures and performances of July 2015 in Arnhem, the Netherlands.

Learn more about Malina Suleiman's written MA thesis (DAI, 2015)My identity: or what does culture have to do with it?

Follow Malina's "Life after DAI" ~