Moshtari Hilal is a visual artist and researcher, living in Hamburg and Berlin. She is the co-founder of the global independent art collective AVAH (Afghan Visual Arts and History), co-founder of Berlin-based research collective CCC (Curating Through Conflict with Care) (2022) and co-creator of Studio Hilal, a design project dedicated to prints on textile on the nexus of art, fashion and storytelling with her sister and designer Zuhra Hilal. Since February 2021 she is also co-curating a series of talks with the political geographer Sinthujan Varatharajah.
With a special focus on analogue drawing, Hilal considers her overall practice nonetheless to be interdisciplinary and process-oriented. While her process begins with the personal as a resource, it involves academic research and the engagement with the public, in forms of lectures, essays, artist talks, interviews and social media work. She describes her artistic practice as reconciliation with shame and negated beauty, as well as the critical subversion of power and colonial continuities. Hilal studied Islamic Studies and Political Theory in Hamburg, Amman, Berlin and London, focusing on Gender and Decolonial theory.
Her body of work exploring the possibilities of the visual arts and analogue drawing is shaped by the (self)portrait and family archive. Hilal aims for a visual language that is shaped by the subjective. Consequently, the artist works with the drawn line as means and symbol of a figurative vocabulary that refers to the black-haired body. In addition, her portraits deal with recurring motifs, such as the prominent nose, the figure of the mother or the family archive.
She has exhibited her drawings worldwide since the age of 19, including in Kabul, New Jersey, Hanover, Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg, Gothenburg, Tehran, Sopot, Barcelona, London and Beirut. Among these have been her solo exhibitions in Hamburg at Âme Nue (2020), in London at Goldsmith University of Fine Arts (2018) and her exhibitions The Black Haired Bomb (2019) and The Girl with the Moustache (2016) in Berlin. Hilal has also shown her work in group exhibitions at the Sopot National Gallery of Art in Poland (2018), the Tehran-Niavaran complex in Iran (2017), the Museum del Disseny in Barcelona (2017), the Heinrich Böll Foundation in Berlin (2017), the Institute Francais in Kabul (2012) and in Hamburg (2019). From July to September 2017, Hilal was a fellow at the Swedish artists’ residence Konstepidemin Gothenburg. In 2019, Hilal was invited to the Beirut Design Week, spoke as a guest speaker at MARKK – Museum of the Arts and Cultures of the World in Hamburg, at the University of Fine Arts in Hamburg and at the University of Bamberg. Most recently Hilal was a part of the Curatorial Workshop 2020 at the 11th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art.