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Havana Biennial 2019: Constructing the Possible Ocula Report Havana Biennial 2019: Constructing the Possible 17 Apr 2019 : Federica Bueti for Ocula

I first visited Havana in November 2016, a few days after Fidel Castro died, and just under a year before Hurricane Irma hit Cuba in September 2017. Since then, much has changed, including the hand-painted signs that punctuate the journey from the airport to the city centre, which today do not celebrate the revolution so much as the 'Unidad y...

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Andrew Stahl and Guo Xiaohui Ocula Conversation Andrew Stahl and Guo Xiaohui

The exhibition Beyond Boundaries at Somerset House in London (12 March–2 April 2019) marked the historic contributions of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing (CAFA) and the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London, on the occasion of their 100th and 150th anniversaries, respectively. Spread across several rooms of Somerset House's...

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The National 2019: New Australian Art Ocula Report The National 2019: New Australian Art 13 Apr 2019 : Elyse Goldfinch for Ocula

The National 2019: New Australian Art features work by 70 contemporary Australia-based artists split across three venues: the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW), Carriageworks, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) (29 March–21 July 2019), as curated by Isobel Parker Philip, curator of photographs at AGNSW; Daniel Mudie Cunningham,...

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Khadim Ali

b. 1978, Pakistan

Khadim Ali was born in 1978 in Quetta, Pakistan, as an Afghan refugee. His family, belonging to the Hazara minority, fled Afghanistan to escape Taliban persecution. From 1998–99, he studied mural painting and calligraphy in Tehran, Iran. He earned a BFA at the National College of Arts, Lahore, Pakistan (2003), where he studied traditional miniature painting. He completed artist residencies in Japan through the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum (2006) and Arts Initiative Tokyo (2007). Ali moved to Sydney in 2010 and earned an MFA at the College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales (2012).

Haunted by the March 2001 Taliban destruction of two monumental 6th-century Buddhas in Bamiyan, Afghanistan (the Ali family’s ancestral home, located 150 miles northwest of Kabul), the artist returned to the town in 2006 and conducted The Bamiyan drawing project as part of his participation in the 5th Asia Pacific Triennial, Brisbane, Australia (2006), for which he invited area children to depict local stories. Then, during his residency in Fukuoka later that year, he asked Japanese children to respond to the Afghan children’s images. The drawings became the basis of the series Absent Kitchen (2006– ). Ali returned to Bamiyan again in April 2008 and embarked on a collaboration with Lebanese-Canadian artist Jayce Salloum titled the heart that has no love/pain/generosity is not a heart (2008–11). This poetic documentary account of the ruins of the Bamiyan Buddhas and the valley’s current conditions takes the form of a layered installation of photographs, videos, documents, objects, and paintings.

In 2012, Ali presented five paintings at Documenta 13, including one at the quinquennial’s first presentation in Kabul. In addition, he conducted the seminar “Rereading Shahnameh” for children in Bamiyan. Shahnameh, or the Persian Book of kings, is an epic poem composed between 977 and 1010 by the court poet Firdausi. It records the mythical history of Persia preceding the 7th-century Islamic conquest. Ali continues to be inspired by childhood memories of his grandfather reciting from the Shahnameh, and acknowledges its miniature illustrations as his first exposure to art. He often chooses his subject matter from its secular pantheon of heroes and legends.

Ali has had solo exhibitions at Chawkandi Art Gallery, Karachi (2004 and 2005); Green Cardamom, London (2007); Rohtas 2, Lahore (2009); and Cross Art Projects, Sydney (2012). His works were featured along with Imran Qureshi’s in the Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan Pavilion at the 2009 Venice Biennale. Ali organized and participated in The Haunted Lotus: Contemporary Art from Kabul, Cross Art Projects (2010), and The Force of Forgetting, Lismore Regional Gallery, Australia (2011). His work was included in Future: Afghanistan, Gemak, The Hague, Netherlands (2008); Living Traditions, Queen’s Palace, Kabul (2008), and National Art Gallery, Islamabad, Pakistan (2009); Safavids Revisited, British Museum, London (2009); Only from the Heart Can You Touch the Sky, RMIT Gallery, Melbourne (2012); and Home Again—10 Artists Who Have Experienced Japan, Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (2012). Ali lives and works in Sydney, Quetta, and Kabu.

Source: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.

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Recent Exhibitions

In Ocula Magazine

S. Alice Mong Ocula Conversation S. Alice Mong Executive Director, Asia Society, Hong Kong

S. Alice Mong became the Executive Director of Asia Society Hong Kong Center in 2012. Prior to joining the Asia Society, Ms Mong worked for almost a decade in New York, where as Director of the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) she was responsible for transforming MOCA from a New York Chinatown institution to a leading national museum. Ms Mong...

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Richard Armstrong Ocula Conversation Richard Armstrong Director, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation, New York

Richard Armstrong is the Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation. As well as managing the foundation he oversees the Guggenheim Museum in New York as well as the Peggy Guggenheim collection in Venice, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, the Deutsche Guggenheim and the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi due for completion in 2017. Prior to this...

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June Yap Ocula Conversation June Yap Curator, Guggenheim UBS Map Global Initiative, Singapore

Launched in April 2012, the Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative charts contemporary art in South and Southeast Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East and North Africa. No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia is the Initiative’s inaugural exhibition. Initially shown in New York, (22 February–22 May 2013), the...

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In Related Press

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Khadim Ali receives the 2016 Western Sydney Arts Fellowship Related Press Khadim Ali receives the 2016 Western Sydney Arts Fellowship ArtAsiaPacific : 7 February 2017

On February 2, it was announced that Khadim Ali received the 2016 Western Sydney Arts Fellowship, which includes AUD 50,000 (USD 38,300) in funding for the recipient to undertake self-directed, professional development with a public outcome, such as an exhibition. The fellowship is offered by the state government of New South Wales, with success...

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Introducing the Apollo 40 under 40 Asia Pacific Related Press Introducing the Apollo 40 under 40 Asia Pacific Apollo : 1 September 2016

Who are the people under 40 making waves in the art world? That was the question we asked ourselves in 2014, when we launched the first Apollo 40 Under 40. That year’s list, which focused on Europe, and the subsequent 40 Under 40 USA, weren’t meant as power lists but as surveys of talent: of young people who have firmly established...

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Vietnam’s Guerilla Kunsthalle— Interview with Zoe Butt Director of Sàn Art Related Press Vietnam’s Guerilla Kunsthalle— Interview with Zoe Butt Director of Sàn Art Randian : 16 January 2016

Guerilla Kunsthalle & Saigon Surfer: An interview with Zoe Butt, director of Sán ArtFor most, Vietnam is an idea formed, since the beginning of the twentieth century, by a foreigner’s idea of the foreign, rather more than by its residents. Whether as French chattels, Russian foil or American paranoia, whether as stoic or inscrutable...

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Khadim Ali's artwork tells of loss and living Related Press Khadim Ali's artwork tells of loss and living The Strait Times : 2 July 2015

Artist Khadim Ali's powerful artworks are rooted in the many turbulent journeys he has negotiated. The 37-year-old artist belongs to Afghanistan's Hazara tribe, holds a Pakistan passport and now calls Australia home. His family was forced to flee from their home in Bamiyan during the civil war, which saw the Taleban take over...

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