[Laysa] Ana / I am [NOT]
100 cm x 72 cm
Pigment print on cotton rag, 310gr.
Mounted on Aluminum Dibond with UV protective Laminate
5 editions + 2 AP
Alia Ali is Austrian born, Yemeni and Bosnian by blood, American by rights and mobility, global by education, and Moroccan by residence. In response to the bold statement, “I AM,” the artist investigates the theme in terms of what she is not. To label oneself is to willingly cast oneself in a static mold; yet, each day, as we respond both to major events and to minute decisions, we recast who we are by discovering what we are not.
In her auto-portrait, Alia Ali uses woven newspaper to create a barrier between herself and the viewer. She is both the photographer and the subject, the observed and the observer. In this piece, she questions the fabricated barriers in society that vilify the other. Who holds the power to create an identity? How can we break through the lens through which another views us?
Perhaps it is better for us to embrace the multiple layers of what creates our complex identities by living on the borders of all what we are rather than continually struggling with abridged stereotypes imposed by others. This leaves the question of what do we really know of anyone? Aren’t we all enveloped in stereotypes created by the other? The more we allow these labels to seep into our judgment, the more of a boundary we weave between each other, becoming both the victim and the culprit, all at once.
Alia Ali (Austria, 1985) is a Yemeni-Bosnian-American multi-media artist and visual storyteller. Having traveled to fifty-three countries, lived in seven and grown up among five languages, her most comfortable mode of communication is through image and multi-sensory mediums. Her extensive travels have led her to process the world through interactive experiences. As a child of two linguists, Alia believes that the interpretation of verbal and written language has
disserved particular communities and can present more of a threat than a means of understanding.
It is for this reason that Alia's aesthetic interests stem from people, place, and the processes which unite and divide us, all at once. Her work reflects on the politics and poetics of contested notions surrounding the topics of identity, physical borders, universality, mental/physical spaces of confinement, and the inherent dualism that exists in everything. Her work blurs the lines between what we claim to be objective and subjective, illusion and reality, truth and interpretation.
Alia is currently on a transglobal project, called the People of Pattern, whereby she is exploring cultures and their stories through the medium of textile and the processes of making them. Her journey takes her to Oaxaca, Mexico; Bokhara, Uzbekistan; Yogyakarta, Indonesia; SAPA, Vietnam; Kyoto, Japan; Ahmedabad, India; and Dakar, Senegal.
Alia Ali is a graduate of the United World College of the Atlantic (UWCAC) and holds a BA in Studio Art and Middle Eastern Studies from Wellesley College. Her studio is based between New Orleans and Marrakech. Her recent work has been featured at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art as part of PhotoNOLA, the Marrakech Biennale as part of the Swiss-Moroccan KE’CH Collective, at PhotoLondon as part of the LensCulture Exposure Awards, and most recently the Kuala Lumpur International Photo Awards in Malaysia.