Moshtari Hilal is a visual artist, writer and curator based in Hamburg and Berlin.
Hilal studied Islamic Studies and Political Science with a focus on Gender and Decolonial Theory in Hamburg, Berlin and London. She is co-founder of the collective AVAH (Afghan Visual Arts and History) and the research project CCC (Curating Through Conflict with Care) as part of ngbk in Berlin. Together with political geographer Sinthujan Varatharajah, Hilal published September 2022 at Wirklichkeit Books the conversation book "English in Berlin - Exclusions in a Cosmopolitan Society". Varatharajah and Hilal were awarded the supporting price for critique by the Lessing Academy Wolfenbüttel for their joint work. Hilal is also one of four Villa Serpentara 2023 fellows awarded by the Young Academy of Arts in Berlin and hosted by the Villa Massimo in Rome. Hilal's essayistic debut "Hässlichkeit" (Ugliness) will be published by Hanser in September 2023 and was awarded the Hamburg Literature Prize 2023 for non-fiction.
With a particular interest in analog drawing and collage, Moshtari Hilal considers her overarching practice to be interdisciplinary and process-oriented. While her work begins with the personal and subjective as a resource and starting point, the process includes research, collaborative and collective practice, and the critical engagement and curatorial mediation with the public. Hilal describes her artistic practice as reconciling with shame and negated beauty, and seeks to understand and critique power and colonial continuities in visual culture. Her practice is informed by (self-)portraits and informal family archives, which she employs in eclectic ways in her search for a visual language. Her work deals with recurring motifs, such as the prominent nose, black hair, the figure of the mother and unreliable childhood memories. Thus, the artist works with the drawn line as a means and symbol of a figurative vocabulary that refers to the black-haired body, as well as visual noise and low resolution, as a method to access precarious material.