an exhibition by Alia Ali

curated by Mary-Lou Ngwe-Secke


Installation in situ, 193 Gallery, Alia Ali, Kaleidoscope cascades on Ikat fabric wall installation, Pigment printing on 310 g / m2 rag photo. with UV protective laminate mounted on aluminum dibond in a wooden frame lined with ikat silks and cottons, 140 x 68.5 x 7.5 cm, 2021.

The fabric, a timeless icon of identification, is revealed through its history as bearer of illusions, and takes a major place at the heart of Alia Ali’s art, a yemeni-bosnian-US leading multimedia artist. Wax fabric, on one hand, blurs the traces of its colonial and capitalist history by throwing a colored filter, with rich and sometimes deceptively identifiable patterns. 

In the hands of the artist, it becomes polymorphic, questioning the way things are named, translated, reinterpreted, but also the initial reason for its production. The origin is indeed very different from their contemporary names, which themselves sometimes deceive on their real place of production.

On the other hand, through her photographic sculptures and installations, using complex textiles such as Ikat, Alia Ali highlights the lexical richness perceptible in the creation of these motifs. She conceptualizes this hyper-optical collaboration between thread, dye and senses, while bringing the unrewarded cultural appropriation of which they are the object. 

The reorientations of language are also the subject of study, calling on the viewer to consider linguistic uses. Indeed, contemporary recoveries and cultural expectations, still too often erroneous, are defused under the prism with multiple meanings of the word Hub / Love . Photography, textiles and writing come together to walk the viewer towards complex notions of inclusion, exclusion, erasure and politicization of body and language. The artist questions the viewer's gaze and the unconscious projections that accompany it, challenging the boundaries of language, becoming a motif and a source of refraction of the most resolute consciousnesses.

The artist therefore strives to deconstruct the economic, political, societal and even colonial walls, erected by small groups fantasizing about the majority. Thus, through a hypnotizing optical game, Alia also explores the unrecognized importance of the color indigo as a factor of physical, cosmic and historical union transcending conflicts, borders but also cultures and religions.

Throughout Mot(if), Alia Ali wants to highlight the theme of inclusion and exclusion through silhouettes covered with fabrics from different regions of the world, and questions us about our own position 'does this include it or exclude it? '.

Building on diversity for points of view, the second entrance of the 193 Gallery dedicates this installation to the subject of migration. The artist exposes the different layers that make up their existence; proposes a cosmic reinvention of their reality; and finally invites them to reclaim their future towards a glorious vision, leaving behind a fantasized and erroneous future that resulted only in the loss of their history.

Finally, the crossing towards a radical Yemeni futurism takes the visitor to question what claims to be a protective entity, which turns out to be a source of destruction, the reason why conflict is more profitable than peace.

Mot (if) therefore tries to ward off the narratives imposed by the weight of words and images. Through the prism of beauty, this exhibition is a call to contemplation but also above all, to questioning what we think we know, understand and protect.

" L’assimilation est une violence.

Assimilation is violence. 


Elle fait de nous des étrangers face au savoir ancestral qui coule dans nos veines depuis des siècles.

It is to make us strangers to the ancestral knowledge that has run through our veins for centuries.


C'est un effacement actif de notre passé afin de nous imposer une vision de l'avenir appartenant à un d'autre.

It is the active erasure of our pasts in order to fit someone else's vision of the future.


Elle nous rend étranger de nous-même et de nos pairs. 

It makes us strangers to ourselves -- and to each other. 


Nous arrivons et nous efforçons d’être comme eux ...

We arrive and strive to be like them ...


… uniquement pour découvrir que nous ne pourrons jamais être quelqu'un d'autre que nous-même.

...only to discover that we can never be anyone else than ourselves.


Cette exposition est dédiée aux invisibles de la société, aux assimilés - les migrants - c’est un rappel de notre royauté qui a été et qui demeure - un rappel de la beauté de nos couleurs, de la poésie de nos mythes et du chant de nos accents. 

This exhibition is dedicated to those hidden in plain sight - the migrants - it's a reminder of our royalty that once was and still is - the beauty in our color, the poetry in our myths, and the song in our accents. 


Si nous ne sommes pas honorés par autrui, alors nous détenons le pouvoir pour nous honorer les uns les autres. 

If we are not honored by others, then we have the power to honor each other. 


Cette exposition vous est dédiée.  

This exhibition is dedicated to you." Alia Ali 


Installation in situ, 193 Gallery, Alia Ali, from right to left: Dub, Throb, Beat, Pulse, FLUX series, Pigment printing on 310 g / m2 rag photo with UV protection laminate mounted on aluminum dibond in a frame in wood lined with Maasai wool, 124.5 x 89 cm, 2021 (work alone).