b. 1985, Austria

Alia Ali Artworks

Ali explores the impact of translation and interpretation of language, and the power of language in relation to culture, identity, and colonisation, through a geopolitical lens. She states: 'My work explores cultural binaries, challenges culturally sanctioned oppression, and confronts the dualistic barriers of conflicting notions of gender, politics, media and citizenship.'

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Photographs and Textiles

Ali expresses the complexities of diasporic identity and the intersections of colonisation, migration, and imperialism in her photographic practice. In her series of staged portraits such as BORDERLAND (2017–ongoing), FLOW (2021), and INDIGO (2021), the artist explores identity through Indigenous textiles and textile production. Travelling widely to learn as much as possible about these textiles, including the patterns, pigments, dyeing, weaving, and the context of their production and makers, Ali subsequently produces photographs that feature anonymous figures draped in these brightly patterned fabrics, often against the backdrop of further clashing textiles. Dizzyingly kaleidescopic, Ali's images problematise the optic beauty of the materials through exposing their conflict-laden origins, and consider ideas of camouflage, erasure, and identity.

Yemeni Futurism: The Red Star

The Red Star (2020) brought together multiple works contemplating the ongoing conflict in Yemen, and the Yemeni diaspora. The exhibition's title refers to the country's socialist history as the People's Democratic Republic of South Yemen, but also to a significant Yemeni myth, where the descendants of Belquis, Queen of Saba'a/Sheba, inherit Mars, the Red Star. Ali states: 'Talking to Yemenis in the diaspora, I realised the story of the Red Star that we're told as children is something we all share. I thought this was profound: the idea that there could be something cosmic that pulls us together.'

Featuring video works Conflict Is More Profitable Than Peace (2019) and Mahjar (2020–2022), Ali incorporated references to the U.S. and Saudi Arabi in fragments, such as clips of the U.S. national anthem and photographs of Yemeni objects in American museums. In spite of these references, through which Ali acknowledges the U.S. and Saudi Arabia's impact on Yemen, the artist retains a sense of autonomy in presenting her vision of Yemeni identity, tradition, and history. Through The Red Star, Ali reclaims storytelling as a means to reconstruct a collective identity for diasporic Yemeni people, and envisages a more hopeful future for a community facing ongoing humanitarian crises.

Writing for ArtReview, Nadia Beard states: 'If the attempted colonial erasure of Africa's past gave rise to Afrofuturism, Ali's The Red Star might be thought of as a kind of Yemeni-futurism: present reality is dominated by an oppressive force; any thoughts of a future must be reimagined shorn of these. It's a kind of futurism that would distinguish itself from the lens of Arab Futurism, which, Ali says, flattens the particularities of life in cultures and communities across Arabia.'

Browse Artworks
Ikat Emerald by Alia Ali contemporary artwork photography
Alia Ali Ikat Emerald, 2021 Archival pigment print, mounted, UV laminated, frame upholstered in wax print
124.5 x 89 x 7 cm
Galerie—Peter—Sillem Contact Gallery
Step by Alia Ali contemporary artwork photography
Alia Ali Step, 2021 Archival Pigment Print, mounted, framed in a white box frame
82 x 82 cm
Galerie—Peter—Sillem Contact Gallery
Links by Alia Ali contemporary artwork photography
Alia Ali Links, 2021 Archival pigment print, mounted, framed in a white box frame
82 x 82 cm
Galerie—Peter—Sillem Contact Gallery
Diagonal by Alia Ali contemporary artwork photography
Alia Ali Diagonal, 2021 Archival pigment print, mounted, framed in a white box frame
82 x 82 cm
Galerie—Peter—Sillem Contact Gallery
Dots II by Alia Ali contemporary artwork photography
Alia Ali Dots II, 2021 Archival Pigment Print, mounted, framed in a white box frame
82 x 82 cm
Galerie—Peter—Sillem Contact Gallery
Dots I by Alia Ali contemporary artwork photography
Alia Ali Dots I, 2021 Archival pigment print, mounted, framed in a white box frame
82 x 82 cm
Galerie—Peter—Sillem Contact Gallery
Chevron by Alia Ali contemporary artwork photography
Alia Ali Chevron, 2021 Archival pigment print, mounted, framed in a white box frame
82 x 82 cm
Galerie—Peter—Sillem Contact Gallery
Ikat Ruby by Alia Ali contemporary artwork photography
Alia Ali Ikat Ruby, 2021 Archival pigment print, mounted, UV laminated, frame upholstered in wax print
124.5 x 89 x 7 cm
Galerie—Peter—Sillem Contact Gallery
Azurean Arrival by Alia Ali contemporary artwork photography
Alia Ali Azurean Arrival, 2021 Archival pigment print , mounted, UV laminated, frame upholstered in wax print
140 x 69 x 7 cm
Galerie—Peter—Sillem Contact Gallery
Azure Drip by Alia Ali contemporary artwork photography
Alia Ali Azure Drip, 2021 Archival pigment print, mounted, UV laminated, frame upholstered in wax print,
140 x 69 x 7 cm
Galerie—Peter—Sillem Contact Gallery
Jin by Alia Ali contemporary artwork photography
Alia Ali Jin, 2021 Archival pigment print, mounted, UV laminated, frame upholstered in wax print
140 x 69 x 7 cm
Galerie—Peter—Sillem Contact Gallery
Jan by Alia Ali contemporary artwork photography
Alia Ali Jan, 2021 Archival pigment print, mounted, UV laminated, frame upholstered in wax print
140 x 69 x 7 cm
Galerie—Peter—Sillem Contact Gallery
Kaleidoscope Cascades by Alia Ali contemporary artwork photography
Alia Ali Kaleidoscope Cascades, 2021 Archival pigment print, mounted, UV laminated, frame upholstered in wax print
140 x 69 x 7 cm
Galerie—Peter—Sillem Contact Gallery
Chromatic Crests by Alia Ali contemporary artwork photography
Alia Ali Chromatic Crests, 2021 Archival pigment print, mounted, UV laminated, frame upholstered in wax print
140 x 69 x 7 cm
Galerie—Peter—Sillem Contact Gallery
Versicolor Frequencies by Alia Ali contemporary artwork photography
Alia Ali Versicolor Frequencies, 2021 Archival pigment print, mounted, UV laminated, frame upholstered in wax print
140 x 69 x 7 cm
Galerie—Peter—Sillem Contact Gallery
Starry Dimensions by Alia Ali contemporary artwork photography
Alia Ali Starry Dimensions, 2021 Archival pigment print, mounted, upholstered frame (wood & wax print)
124.5 x 89 x 7.5 cm
Galerie—Peter—Sillem Contact Gallery
Cosmic Vibrations by Alia Ali contemporary artwork photography
Alia Ali Cosmic Vibrations, 2021 Archival pigment print, mounted, upholstered frame (wood & wax print)
124.5 x 89 x 7.5 cm
Galerie—Peter—Sillem Contact Gallery
Rhythmic Equations by Alia Ali contemporary artwork photography
Alia Ali Rhythmic Equations, 2021 Archival pigment print, mounted, upholstered frame (wood & wax print)
124.5 x 89 x 7.5 cm
Galerie—Peter—Sillem Contact Gallery
Dots II by Alia Ali contemporary artwork photography
Alia Ali Dots II, 2021 Archival pigment print, mounted, white wooden frame
84 x 84 cm
Galerie—Peter—Sillem Contact Gallery
Dots I by Alia Ali contemporary artwork photography
Alia Ali Dots I, 2021 Archival pigment print, mounted, white wooden frame
84 x 84 cm
Galerie—Peter—Sillem Contact Gallery
Magenta Leaves by Alia Ali contemporary artwork photography, mixed media
Alia Ali Magenta Leaves, 2021 Archival pigment print, mounted, upholstered frame (wood & wax print)
124.5 x 89 x 7.5 cm
Galerie—Peter—Sillem Contact Gallery
Stripes by Alia Ali contemporary artwork photography
Alia Ali Stripes, 2021 Archival pigment print, mounted, white wooden frame
82 x 82 cm
Galerie—Peter—Sillem Contact Gallery
Rain by Alia Ali contemporary artwork photography
Alia Ali Rain, 2021 Archival pigment print, mounted, white wooden frame
82 x 82 cm
Galerie—Peter—Sillem Contact Gallery
Sojourner Flex by Alia Ali contemporary artwork mixed media
Alia Ali Sojourner Flex, 2021 Archival Pigment Print, mounted, upholstered frame (wood & wax print)
124.5 x 89 x 7.5 cm
Galerie—Peter—Sillem Contact Gallery
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