Ahsan completed his MFA from Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Finland in 2014. He was awarded Department of Art Grant for his Master’s Thesis titled “In Pursuit of the Unsafe: Locating the Native Artist”.
Previously, he has completed his BFA from National College of Arts in Pakistan, in Communication Design, where he was awarded a distinction for his final thesis articulating the ethics of advertising.
Ahsan has exhibited his work nationally and internationally, and has also been the recipient of the iInternational Artists Residency program by Greatmore Studios in Capetown 2011, the international Artists Residency program by NoArte: Wall of Europe, in Sardinia 2013, and “Taking Time” Artists Workshop, Helsinki, 2013.
Ahsan Masood: Lori (Lullaby), 2013, video. (Installation photo: Timo Nieminen)
Ahsan’s artistic practice strives to articulate the schematics of representation and the power dynamics associated with authoring such representations. It furthers locates this dialogue within the religious and socio-political context of the artist, as a Pakistani. These are the politics of representation pertaining to one’s nationalistic, ethnic, religious or gender identity and their intersectional relationships with media-representation, censorship, and religious freedoms. The body of work gauges the safety—or its sheer absence—within the relationships between such representations, those who author them and the ones such representations aim to portray. In view of the contentious nature of the processes associated with conceiving representations, there is an urgent need to research such methodologies— and the representations associated with them—in order to allow them to be reconstituted.
The artist’s practice aims to articulate the notions of safety within physical and intellectual spaces of representation: the safety of being visible for having non-conforming ideas within a militant-state and of being proclaimed the Other by the spectators eye. This is the un-safety of being seen through the lens of sexual taboos, gender binaries, ethnic hierarchies, religious freedoms and the public availability of that information. These are the struggles of being looked at and judged, of being reduced to a cliché or a racial slur.