A book to grow is a work that developed from the project Antology and Antyart. It reflects on the similarities between ants and humans in their social structures. It inquires the differences in their autonomy and engagement, and defines their hybridity through the ANTFARM. A glass encased technology, allowing for one to look beyond into the world while keeping one tunneling through the dirt of the colony.

A book to grow included a home making paper process. The paper is embedded with seeds and the objective is, to bury the book, to let it grow. The handwritten words in the book, are various poetic reflections on our zeitgeist.

The gestural activation of this work is a reading titled IQRA. The book is read once and then sealed. The book will be buried and the artwork depends on nurturing interventions to grow. Its survival is placed on means of reflection, value attribution and performing discourses.

The elements surrounding the work calls forward questions of sustainability, longevity, positionality and prompts a manner of art making that defies canonical notions of preservation.


Plants grow in all sorts of ways. Sometimes it is because we plant them. Sometimes they grow without our intervention.

If words can plants seeds in our minds then how do we make mind seeds grow.

These plants that are ripped out so violently from pruned gardens are so bad-ass.

They are defiant.

They travel by all means available in their environment. They withstand the conditions they are subjected to and they grow.

I don’t want my words to grow like the ones in the pruned garden.

Those gardens are predictable and plain.

I want my words to grow wild like weeds. I want my words to be swept up in whispers like dandelions.
I want my words to be defiant.

So when you walk through my garden it will be unpredictable and strange.

Hafiza Asmal. 2020. A Book to Grow.
Handmade paper, Black ink, Seeds, Organic debris
20cm x 22cm x 1.5cm
Hafiza Asmal. 2020. Mind Seeds.
Handmade paper, organic debris, polymer cast, on Fabriano
23cm x 32cm x 1.1cm
Hafiza Asmal. 2020. A Book to read. Black Jacks and fabric textile, performance debris encased in perspex. 40x 60x 1.5 cm.
Hafiza Asmal. 2020. IQRA. Performance setting.
Hafiza Asmal. 2020. IQRA. Performance, still from footage.
Hafiza Asmal. JHB. 2020. installation of growing antfarm exhibition-process. photo
image courtesy of the artist.