Opening Reception: Saturday, May 6th, 6 – 8 pm during Jammin’ on Julia
Live music by Yisrael Trio
Octavia Art Gallery is pleased to present Azure, a solo exhibition featuring new works by Alia Ali.
Alia Ali is a Yemeni-Bosnian-US multi-media artist. Her work explores cultural binaries, challenges culturally sanctioned oppression, and confronts the dualistic barriers of conflicted notions of gender, politics, media, and citizenship. Through her practice, Ali critiques linguistics and inherited political structures and narratives, while simultaneously attempting to counter the polarization and miscommunication that imperils communities across the world, encouraging viewers to confront their own prejudices.
Working between language, photography, video, textile, and installation, Ali’s work addresses the politicization of the body, histories of colonization, imperialism, sexism, and racism through projects that take pattern and textile as their primary motif. Textile has been a constant in Ali’s practice. Her strong belief that textile is significant to all of us, reminds us that we are born into it, we sleep in it, we eat on it, we define ourselves by it, we shield ourselves with it, and eventually, we die in it. While it unites us, it also divides us physically and symbolically. Her work broadens into immersive installations utilizing light, pattern, and textile to move past language and offer an expansive, experiential understanding of self, culture, and nation.
In this exhibition, Ali’s newest bodies of work are weaved together through the thread of Azure. Azure can be defined as various types of blue, and yet blue seems too simple a word to denote the multitude of hues, feelings, emotions, and frequencies it embodies. As the daughter of a 5th generation indigo dyer, Ali views azure not only as a color, but as the space in between; it is the fluctuation of light that dawns above us in endless skies and flows within us as water.
Ali is a graduate of Wellesley College and the California Institute of the Arts (CALARTS). She lives in New Orleans and travels between her studios in Paris, Jaipur, and Marrakech. She has exhibited in numerous solo exhibitions and art fairs across the globe. Her work is in collections at the British Museum, Princeton University, New Orleans Museum of Art, Tucson Museum of Art, Museum of Photography in Chicago, Benton Museum of Art, and a myriad of international private collections. Ali is the recipient of the ARTSY Vanguard Prize 2021-22 and is a NIKON Global Ambassador.
Assimilation is violence.
It is to make us strangers to the ancestral knowledge that has run through our veins for centuries. It is the active erasure of our pasts in order to fit someone else’s vision of the future.
It makes us strangers to ourselves— and each other.
We arrive and strive to be like them…
… only to discover that we can never be anyone else than ourselves.
My work is dedicated to those hidden in plain sight — the migrants — it is a reminder of our royalty that once was, and still is— the beauty in our color, the poetry in our narratives and the song in our accents.
If we are not honored by others, then we have the power to honor each other.
My work is dedicated to (you/us).