Ashfika Rahman, born in Dhaka, earned her degree in Documentary Photography from Pathshala, the South Asian Media Institute, Bangladesh. She later continued her photography studies at Hochschule University of Applied Sciences and Arts, in Germany. Ashfika’s practice straddles art and documentary, drawing inspiration from 19th century prints which she re-contextualizes using contemporary media. Photography is the predominant medium through which she expresses her extensive research into the power structures and social issues in society. Ashfika’s particular emphasis on documenting past acts of violence opens the door for her work to challenge stereotypes of how we look at victims, especially minors.
Ashfika’s long-term project, started in 2016 and entitled ‘Rape is Political’, is a portrait series of tribal rape victims in the remote hill areas of Bangladesh on the borders of India and Myanmar. Her other on-going project, ‘Files of the Disappeared’, is a research and documentary study of forced disappearances and extrajudicial killings by state security forces in northern Bangladesh. For this work, Ashfika collaborated with professional psychologists and counsellors.
Ashfika was part of the World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass in 2018. She is a faculty member at the South Asian Media Academy, Bangladesh.