Skip to product information
1 of 13

Offset Bookshop

NAFAS, ISOLATION DIARIES Vol 1 & Vol 2 - Arshi Irshad Ahmadzai

NAFAS, ISOLATION DIARIES Vol 1 & Vol 2 - Arshi Irshad Ahmadzai

Regular price Rs. 1,500.00
Regular price Sale price Rs. 1,500.00
Sale Sold out
Tax included. Shipping calculated at checkout.

Hardcase with cloth spine
1st Edition, 2023
Published by blueprint.12
Urdu and English
Nafas I - 124 pages
Nafas II - 132 pages

"In the series Nafas: Isolation Diaries, the record of a year in the artist’s life, we are presented with an archive of lived time. More critically, however, we are introduced to the figure of the artist as an archivist. Nafas functions as a diary of embodied thought, and a purposefully assembled archive of incidents and ideas. Through couplets and fragments drafted by the artist, embedded in the work or nestled in its title, we can discern the breadth of her reading and her literary disposition; which assembles with care and devotion, references to a striking array of poets, writers, and philosophers."
- Except from Essay by Arushi Vats

 Stranded in Najibabad (Uttar Pradesh) during the lockdown, Ahmadzai like others was uncertain about what the future held, and if she would be able to visit Kabul to be with her husband. It was during this time, confined in her barsati (terrace) studio room at her parents home that Ahmadzai delved into a practice of writing letters to her husband, revealing to him in a one-sided communication her anxieties, daily routine, loss of loved ones and their marriage. Titled Nafas, or the Isolation Diaries, the letters include references from poetry and writings of Rabia Basri, Jalauddin Rumi Balkhi, Bedil Shanaz, Jaun Elia, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Ghalib, T.S.Elliot, Virginia Woolf, Hermann Hesse, Dostoevsky and Nietzsche, each having their own impact on Ahmadzai’s life and her thought process as a contemporary artist.

These letters highlight the concerns of a woman, who is unable to come to terms with her life in flux- one with its roots in a country where religious isolation, propaganda and intolerance have become a norm, and the uncertainty of life and political instability in the other. The series, as well as an earlier series titled Lihaaf, comments on the state of the marginalized societies, such as Muslim women, where many such voices are never heard or spoken of.


Arshi Irshad Ahmadzai’s (b. 1988) works are deeply connected to the experiences of women that rarely find a voice and are subdued under societal and political pressures or are bound within religious orthodoxies. She lives between Kabul and New Delhi.

View full details