Alia Ali

Doi: https://doi.org/10.47659/m1.004.rev

Emina Djukić (1982) is a visual artist and pedagogue. She completed her master’s degree in photography at the VŠVU in Bratislava, and currently she is a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design, photography department. From 2005 to 2010 she collaborated with the Medvode Youth Cultural Center, where she was also a program director for some time. For several years as a mentor she participated in the Celje Fokus summer workshop and was her artistic director in 2013. Since 2015 she has been a member of the editorial board of Fotografija magazine. She is researching the media of photography for a long time; Currently she is mainly concerned with the narrative possibilities of photography and its relation to the past.

Emina Djukić (1982) is a visual artist and pedagogue. She completed her master’s degree in photography at the VŠVU in Bratislava, and currently she is a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design, photography department. From 2005 to 2010 she collaborated with the Medvode Youth Cultural Center, where she was also a program director for some time. For several years as a mentor she participated in the Celje Fokus summer workshop and was her artistic director in 2013. Since 2015 she has been a member of the editorial board of Fotografija magazine. She is researching the media of photography for a long time; Currently she is mainly concerned with the narrative possibilities of photography and its relation to the past.

Alia Ali introduces herself as a child of five languages and two defunct countries – Yugoslavia, where her mother hails from, and South Yemen, her father’s homeland, where she spent her childhood years before emigrating along with her family to USA. There she studied at Wellesley College, an institution which claims “[t]o provide an excellent liberal arts education for women who will make a difference in the world”1 and whose alumnae include names such as Hillary Clinton and Madeleine Albright. After finishing her studies, she spent her next five years in Morocco, where she was part of the organization of the Marrakech Biennial, while doing a lot of travelling around the world. She currently resides in New Orleans, USA, a city to which she felt drawn, the way she did Morocco, because she finds it such a lively cultural hub.

Her interest in photography was sparked by documentary filmmaking, but she soon felt that words, with their concreteness, hinder access to the essence. She began translating the fight for human rights into visual language, into an art discourse illuminating the invisible, inverting meanings, and replacing statements with questions. 

In her early work, she is – as a consequence of her travels, as well – more concrete, travelogue-like, and journalistic, while her later work exhibits a gradual shift to the metaphoric and conceptual, and can be seen as a condensation of her visual language. Her orientation remains humanistic – multiracialism, gender, identity, the human being as a part of society and the world. The starting point of her Cast No Evil (2015) are the ideas of social roles, masking, namelessness, and universality, based on which she creates simple – for lack of a better word – portraits, even though the portrayed individuals of both sexes are perceived more as some sort of puppets or even fairy-tale protagonists. The images breathe vivacity and radiate positivity, mostly thanks to the use of multi-colour patterned textiles. The reading, however, can also be reversed – we can, for example, imagine the individuals as suffocating inside a layered cocoon. 

It is interesting to observe how the viewer, despite the complete anonymity, is prone to see physical persons beneath the drapery and how the perceived gender of the subjects is female. What is also fascinating is how the artist’s background and the social norms of covering one’s body steer our interpretation of the images in the direction of the Islamic tradition of gender inequality. The artist herself admits that this is a possible basic, superficial interpretation, but that she is more interested in the fabric itself2, the veil as a shield or a social mask – that is to say, not only in the concept of being concealed, but also in the concealing object. She thus points to broader societal questions of exclusion and inclusion and re-examines the grey areas between them. In her words, she is interested in when and how exclusion is negative, and when it actually signifies security, as well as, on the other hand, who does the inclusion and whether inclusion can really be thought of as a synonym for acceptance – who dominates, and who is being dominated?

Notes

  1. Wellesley College website, http://www.wellesley.edu/about/missionandvalues [20 November 2015]
  2. The use of the word fabric allows a play on its meaning of something fabricated, as well as “textile”.
Alia Ali's later work exhibits a gradual shift to the metaphoric and conceptual, and can be seen as a condensation of her visual language. Her orientation is humanistic – multiracialism, gender, identity, the human being as a part of society and the world.
Reading Time: 4 minutes
Reading Time: 4 minutes
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Similar subject

Augmented wild life photography (through the apps) presents a unique experience equidistant between that of a zoo, wildlife documentary, and a videogame.
The origins of interpreting technical images not only as two-dimensional projections but also as geometrical descriptions of objects and scenes dates back to the invention of modern photography itself.
Pop Pills is an ambitiously designed book that explores the issues of an adolescent medicalized generation in the United States.
Originally, I was driven by the idea to take pictures of individuals who don't even have any understanding of being depicted.
To be honest, I am shy and people frightened me. Animals only pooped on your shoes.
The problem is that photography is very glamorous and people think it is a shortcut to produce work.
I don’t think I learned a lot from Henri Cartier-Bresson as a photographer; but he was an extraordinary men and I learn enormously from him as a person, including taking his advice that I should never lose ’my eye’ and become a photojournalist. Still, I adopted his system to archive my negatives. – Josef Koudelka
Historically, snapshots have always been about the everyday, the banal, the repetitive, the cliched events that are part of everyone’s lives. And by using Snapchat, almost any everyday activity can be combined with the production and distribution of an everyday image.

Our site uses cookies to improve our services. As an user you need to agree to the usage and accept our conditions. We are currently using only necessary cookies for normal web page functioning. For more information visit our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. For more information on the cookies that we use please check the list below.  

Cookies that we use

PHPSESSID
This cookie is native to PHP applications. The cookie is used to store and identify a users’ unique session ID for the purpose of managing user session on the website. The cookie is a session cookies and is deleted when all the browser windows are closed.

I consent to the cookie usage, agree with the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy and want to continue using the web-page. 

sign up

and get the latest news and calls for papers & projects