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Identity and Neurodiversity
The Work of Sharif Persaud

Highlights from Persaud's solo exhibition at Autograph

Placing himself at the centre of his work, Sharif Persaud explores identity through his experience of contemporary life and autism. He is a part of the collective of neurodiverse artists and activists at Project Art Works, who have been shortlisted for the Turner Prize 2021. Persaud is profoundly interested in his body in society as a site of investigation: sneezing, healthcare, hospitals, gangrene, cities, flats, benefits and his independence. He questions his audience about their experiences and body - have you ever had?

Persaud's first solo exhibition Have You Ever Had was held at Autograph's gallery in London in 2020/2021, and featured his drawings, large paintings and award-winning short film The Mask. This powerful show was the culmination of the UK-wide EXPLORERS Project, highlighting the extraordinary contribution neurodiverse people make to art and culture. 

Set against a backdrop of increased hardship and marginalisation of vulnerable people, the Project was informed and led by neurodiverse communities, in collaboration with cultural organisations across the UK and in Australia. Persaud's exhibition was developed from Autograph's long partnership with Project Art Works and our participation in EXPLORERS Project.

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Sharif Persaud, Egypt, 2016

Acrylic and felt pen on paper
2.5 x 1.5 metres

Sharif Persaud, Self Portrait, 2015

Acrylic on Paper
1.2 x 1.8 metres

Sharif Persaud, The Mask, 2017

Film, 3 mins 46 seconds

Sharif Persaud, Casualty, 2016

Acrylic, paint and pen on paper
2.7 x 1.5 metres

Sharif Persaud, Past / Present, 2017

Paint pen on paper
2.1 x 1.5 metres

Sharif Persaud, Untitled, 2017

Acrylic and ink on paper
2.2 x 1.5 metres

Read, watch and listen to artist Chris Miller's review of this work on our blog

Sharif Persaud, Self Portrait, 2018

Light sensitive ink on paper
40 x 48 cm

Sharif Persaud, Gangrene, 2015

Acrylic and brush pen paper
1.5 x 1.5 metres

Sharif Persaud, Self Portrait, 2018

Acrylic and brush pen paper
20 x 30 cm

Sharif Persaud, Untitled, 2015

Printing Ink on Paper
21 x 29 cm

Sharif Persaud, Holby City, 2014

Acrylic, paint pen and felt pen on paper
2.9 x 1.5 metres

Sharif Persaud, Untitled, 2017

Printing ink on paper
59 x 42 cm

Sharif Persaud, Untitled, 2015

Acrylic on canvas
41 x 41 cm

Sharif Persaud, Did You Hear?, 2017

Acrylic, paint pen and felt pen on paper
2.9 x 1.5 metres

Read, watch and listen to Zara Joan Miller's review of this work on our blog

Sharif Persaud: Have You Ever Had

The exhibition at Autograph's gallery in Hackney, London. Curated by Autograph's Director Mark Sealy

about the artist

Sharif Persaud (b. 1993)

is an artist based in Hastings. His practice has been developed in collaboration with Project Art Works, where he has been a key contributor.

He wrote and directed The Mask (2017) an Ignition Random Acts Network Centre Commissioned film. The Mask won Best Story at the Oska Bright Film Festival in 2017, and has been shown at screenings across the world including FilmBath UK, the Other Film Festival in Melbourne, Electric Palace in Hastings, and the Discover Film Awards festival in London. It has also featured in a British Film Institute Collection Disabled Britain on Film. His work has featured in group exhibitions including In The Realm of Others (2015) at De La Warr Pavilion and Putting Ourselves in the Picture (2019) at Fabrica. He was a finalist for the 2020 Spectrum Art Award.

You can see more of Persaud's work on the Project Art Works website.

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Acknowledgements

Sharif Persaud: Have You Ever Had was part of the EXPLORERS project, delivered by Project Art Works, a three-year programme of art and conversation working with 12 national art organisations. The EXPLORERS programme was informed and led by neurodiverse communities, placing them at the heart of social, civic and cultural activity.


exhibition supported by

Banner film: from Sharif Persaud, The Mask [detail], film. Courtesy Project Art Works.

Page images, frop top: 1- 14) Courtesy Project Art Works. 15 and 18) Gallery installation photograph by Zoë Maxwell. 16) Sharif Persaud, film still [detail] from The Mask. Courtesy Project Art Works. 17) Sharif Persaud creating Holby City, still from time-lapse video. Courtesy Project Art Works. 19) Sharif Persaud, Holby City [detail], 2014. Courtesy Project Art Works.