Ashjayeen Sharif


Artist Statement

Re: forest looks at the aftermath of the 2020 summer Australian bushfires. Re:forest as a name signifies both ‘regarding: forest’ and ‘reforestation’. With a minimalist construction, I arranged twelve small pieces of burnt native wood onto wooden dowels. Appearing like a gravity defying, dead forest, I paid close attention to the angle of each log to resemble a destroyed picket fence —one that has been burnt and kicked out. Re:forest is grounding reality. The material significance of the burnt native wood and charcoal collected from bushfires embodies my connection to the stolen land on which I create art.

Artwork Process

I arranged burnt wooden logs linearly on a table. I recognised the need for space on all sides as each log was unique, so I drilled holes in the logs to thread two dowels through them. I arranged each log so that its burnt end was downwards to resemble a burned forest. On a table, the logs sat at varying angles, like a worn picket fence. I drew charcoal shadows on brown paper to reference the shadows cast from fire being a light source and to consider the idea of everything lost in the bushfires having a significant past.

About the Artist

  • Name: Ashjayeen Sharif
  • School: Queensland Academy of Science Mathematics and Technology
  • Artwork: Re:forest
  • Media: Partially burnt logs, wooden dowel, charcoal on paper

I think creating art allows me to identify and understand the interconnection of social and climate justice in even the most mundane objects. Being selected in ‘Creative Generation’ shows me that art is an important medium through which we can speak up about the defining issues of our time. It allows the audience to approach learning about important issues without needing to delve into research which can often be inaccessible. Often more successfully than written texts, art prompts conversations and critical thinking.