This project was inspired in January 2016 when I was following the lead-up to the United States primaries. I felt numbed the hatred spouted out by potential candidates and the blatant disregard of the media to remain objective and provide balanced coverage. The bigotry was, and continues to be, directly targeted towards women, Muslims, Mexicans, and a growing list of other groups. It became clear to me that this discourse of discrimination had to be balanced with knowledge and beauty by means of interactive art. If we have forgotten that we have our humanity in common, then I propose something else we have in common- fabric.
The People of Pattern Project highlights fabric and textile as a product of our earth, a manifestation of our imagination, a reflection of our environment and an archive of our stories. This project delves into a variety of cultures around the world and discovers them through their unique cultures, physical environments, artisans, textiles and the processes of making them.
Between June and December of this year, I will research, document and participate in a variety of textile making processes in seven different regions of the world.
Appliqué (Central America), Silk Weaving (Central Asia), Wax Printing (West Africa), Block Printing (South Asia), Floral Dyeing (South East Asia), Indigo Dyeing (South East Asia) and Hand Embroidery (Global).
Over the span of the journey, this site will be updated with images of patterns and textiles that inspire me in each of the regions.
In each location I will be hosted by locals and/or artist residencies with whom I will collaborate. With the support of these PARTNERS I will have the opportunity to work with artisans, organize free workshops for the public, and integrate with artists and local art groups. My stay will be grounded through artistic collaboration, community engagement and personal development.
This process will be documented through visual essays and regularly featured on this website and the Wellesley Underground online publication.
Collaboration with local artisans of the region in order for me to better understand their art form, and for them to view their art form in a more contemporary art context.
Creating interactive spaces in which locals, students and arts professionals can integrate. This would in the form of an exhibition, an artist talk and/or hands-on workshops, all free and open to the general public. These events will take place with the assistance of local arts foundations, galleries, cultural centers and universities.
Furthermore, a visual essay would be compiled of each location and published by a media partner.
Personal artistic development by researching processes of fabric production and hands-on practice of these artisanal forms dying, weaving, batiking, wax printing, block printing, silk production.
The intention of the journey is to allow the various cultures, natural environment, materials, artisans, textiles and methods of making them to inspire a body of work which will manifest itself into multi-media installations, photography, video, online publications, and lots of various forms of aesthetic experimentation.
Work created will be featured in a final exhibition in Spring 2017.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
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 dis-served particular communities and presents more of a threat than a means of understanding.
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 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 during PhotoNOLA, the Marrakech Biennale 6th Edition KE’CH Collective, and PhotoLondon as part of the LensCulture Exposure Awards 2015.