Firoz Mahmud’s ongoing photo-sculpture series Soaked Dream features displaced communities, immigrants, migrant families, members of the diaspora, and ethnic minorities who were displaced by disaster (natural, social, and religious). The photographs capture families as they envision their dreams through bright green sci-fi eyeglasses. Searching to achieve their desired futures, the glasses embody the families’ resilience and commitment to ultimately fulfill their visions in new, imagined territory.
Soaked Dream addresses hope for the future through personal encounters and stories, in which poetry and pragmatism meet. The project is sometimes accompanied by community-based art workshops that encourage children and their family members to reflect upon their struggles in life while envisioning future dreams. With the artist’s assistance, the participants draw and paint their visions, and make their own eyeglasses from kits and objects found in their home or shelters. The artist then photographs the families wearing the glasses, complementing the resulting images with their drawings and paintings as part of exhibitions.
Born in Khulna, Bangladesh, Firoz Mahmud currently lives and works in New York. His artistic practice includes large-scale and long-term research-affiliated projects achieved through various mediums, including painting, drawing, installation and photography. Drawing on his cultural and political heritage, Mahmud’s projects address a wide range of themes, including war, conflict and legacies of the Bengal region, and the cherished dreams of immigrant families in new lands, cities and countries.
Mahmud’s work has been shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions, including at the Office for Contemporary Art (OCA) in Norway, MAXXI Museum of 21st Century Arts in Rome, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA), the Lahore Biennale, the Congo Biennale, and the Immigrant Artist Biennal at the Brooklyn Museum. He was a fellow artist in research at Rijksakademie Van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam, and also holds a PhD from Tokyo University of the Arts, an MFA from Tama Art University in Japan, and a BFA from Dhaka University, Institute of Fine Arts, Bangladesh. Mahmud is represented by Ota Fine Arts in Tokyo, Singapore, and Shanghai, and Exhibit 320 in New Delhi.
Mahmud’s work was presented at the UN climate change conference (COP25) in Madrid, Spain in December 2019 following his selection as one of the 2019 COAL Prize finalists, announced at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, France that same year.