• About... 


Alia Ali (Arabic: عاليه علي // Sabean: ‎ 𐩲𐩱𐩡𐩺𐩲|𐩲𐩱𐩡) is a Yemeni-Bosnian-US multi-media artist whose work explores cultural binaries, challenges culturally sanctioned oppression, and confronts the dualistic barriers of conflicted notions of gender, politics, media, and citizenship. 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, in particular, 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.

Ali’s research and practice are also informed by discourses of criminality, Yemeni Futurism, and feminist theory, all of which are tools to unpack practices of refusal and rupture. Ali calls upon oral histories to conceptualize these narratives, while reflecting on contemporary circumstances, in her native land Yemen, her adopted land the United States and the endless places and people that continue to inspire her. Ali is currently expanding her practice by drawing on stories from Yemen including the nostalgic past of Queen Belquis of Saba (also known as the Queen of Sheba). By investigating histories of the distant past, she addresses the realities of the dystopian present in order to carve out spaces for radically imagined possibilities for the future in what has evolved to be Yemeni Futurism.

Ali is a graduate of Wellesley College and the California Institute of the Arts. She lives and works in and between New Orleans, Paris and Jaipur and is the recipient of the prestigious ARTSY Vanguard Emerging Artist Award and is a NIKON Global Ambassador.

Solo Exhibitions


Glitzch, Benrubi Gallery, New York, NY (upcoming, March 2025)

Hommage, Octavia Gallery, New Orleans, LA (upcoming, April 2025)


LOVE, El Fenn, Marrakech, 2024 (currently on view)

Horizon Rising, Siniya 28, Marrakech, Morocco


Frequencies, Galerie Peter Sillem, Frankfurt, Germany

Azure, Octavia Art Gallery, New Orleans, Louisiana

Wanderlust, Octavia Art Gallery, New York, NY


In Collective Rise, curated by Annelies Thoelen & Branko Popvic, z33 Contemporary Art & Design, Hasselt, Belgium

Al Falak, commissioned work by the Andrew Mellon Foundation, Arab American National Museum, Dearborn, MI, USA

Blue Notes, Foto Relevance, participating gallery of FotoFest Biennial, Houston, TX, USA

حب (ḥub) // LOVE, curated by Rebecca McGrew, Benton Museum of Art, Claremont, CA


FLUX & FLOW, Galerie Peter Sillem, Frankfurt, Germany

Vocal Motifs, Contour Gallery, Rotterdam, Netherlands

Mot(if), 193 Gallery, Paris, France

Patterned Paradigms, Octavia Gallery, New Orleans, LA, USA

Cartographies of Pattern, curated by Erica Cheung, Foto Relevance, Houston, TX, USA

Refracted Futures curation Aubrey Hobart, Roswell Museum and Art Center, Roswell, NM, USA


Project Series 53: Alia Ali // The Red Star, curated by Rebecca McGrew and Hannah Grossman, Benton Museum of Art, Pomona College, Pomona, CA, USA

FLUX, New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA, USA

Hommage, Galerie Siniya 28, Marrakech, Morocco


FLUX, Galerie Peter Sillem, Frankfurt, Germany

UNDER THREAD, California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA, USA

FLUX, Galerie Siniya 28, Marrakech, Morocco


BORDERLAND, East of West Gallery, Santa Fe, NM, USA

BORDERLAND, Blue Sky Gallery, Portland, OR, USA


BORDERLAND, Gulf Photo Plus, Dubai, UAE

BORDERLAND, Mondo Galeria, Madrid, Spain

BORDERLAND, Galerie Siniya 28, Marrakech, Morocco

+|-, Space Gallery, Portland, ME, USA

BORDERLAND, Peter Sillem Gallery, Frankfurt, Germany


REFLECT, Center for Government & International Studies Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA

PROCESS, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Cambridge, MA, USA

Group Exhibitions & Biennials


Connectivity, Mumbai Biennale, curated by Giulia Ambrogi, Mumbai, India (upcoming, November 2024)

POPPY Series, Ties that Bind, State of Fashion Biennale, curated by Rachel Dedman and Louise Bennetts, Arnhem, Netherlands

Mahjar & The Collective, Multi-Futures Group Exhibition curated by Rachael Kiang, Canterbury Bankstown, Sydney, Australia


…or was it a dream?, Gallery 193 Dorsoduro, Venice Biennale Off Projects, Venice, Italy


Reflections: Contemporary Art of the Middle East and North Africa, British Museum, London, UK

Conflict is More Profitable Than Peace and مهجر // Mahjar, FotoWein, Kunst Haus Wein, Museum HundertWasser, Vienna, Austria


Phantoms, Ruins, and Reflections, European High Commission, Brussels, Belgium

Billboard Creative 2020, Los Angeles, CA, USA


Modest Fashion, curated by Rajae El Mouhandiz and Alexandra van Dongen, Stedelijk Museum Schiedam, Schiedam, Netherlands

Text Comes from Textile, Currents Multi Media Festival, Santa Fe, NM, USA


Counterpose, curated by Andrew Siedenburg & Daniel Alcazar, California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA, USA

Something Else, Off Biennale Cairo, Cairo, Egypt

Tribe: Contemporary Photography from the Arab World, Katzen Museum, American University,Washington D.C.

Whether Weather, True False Film & Art Festival, Columbia, Missouri, USA


Identity and the Selfie, curated by Joanna Lehan, Lianzhou Photo Festival, Lianzhou, China

Ephemera Obscura, Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans, LA, USA

I AM, Caravan Arts, St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square, London, UK

I AM, Caravan Arts, National Gallery of Fine Arts, Amman, Jordan Arab Women Artists Now (AWAN Festival), Arts Canteen, London, UK


Limitless 'n Infinite, Heritage Space, Hanoi, Vietnam

Masks, SE Center of Photography, Greenville, South Carolina, USA

Stillness & Distance, Kuala Lumpur International Photo Festival, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Laboratoire de la Mondialité, KE’CH Collective, Marrakech Biennale 6 OFF,  Marrakech, Morocco


Currents, Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans, LA, USA

Shades of Inclusion, Open Door Gallery, Boston, MA, USA

+91, Le Dix Huit Espace d’Art, Marrakech, Morocco

Awards & Grants

Andrew Mellon Foundation of the Arts, New York, NY, 2022

The Artsy Vanguard Prize, International, 2022

Creative Activism Award, Cultures of Resistance Network, 2021

Photographer of the Year and Grand Prize, Chromatic Awards, International, 2020

Diversity Grant, California Institute of the Arts, Santa Clarita, CA, USA, 2019

Allan Sekula Social Documentary Grant, California Institute of the Arts, CA, USA, 2018

Lillian Disney Scholarship, California Institute of the Arts, Santa Clarita, CA, USA, 2018

Clyde & Co. Artist Award for the Middle East & North Africa, Dubai, UAE, 2018

Emerging Artist Competition (US Jury), Magenta Foundation, Toronto, Canada, 2017

Gold - Fine Art Category, Tokyo International Foto Awards 2016, 2016

LensCulture Emerging Talent Awards, 2016

Alice C. Cole '42 Alumnae Award, Wellesley College, 2016

Juror's Award, Kuala Lumpur International Photo Awards, 2016

Rising Artist Award, Arts Connect International, 2015

Most Distinguished Artist Award, Wellesley College, 2019


  • Anderson Museum of Art, Roswell, New Mexico
  • Arab American National Museum, Dearborn, Michigan
  • Arles Art Collection, Arles, France
  • Benton Museum of Art, Claremont, CA
  • The British Museum, London, UK
  • DekaBank, Frankfurt, Germany
  • Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, IL
  • New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA
  • Princeton University, Princeton, NJ
  • Progressive Art Collection, New York, NY
  • Tucson Museum of Art, Tucson, AZ
  • Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA
  • Vontobel Bank, Switzerland
  • KRC Collection, Netherlands

Art Fairs

Upcoming: Paris Photo, 1:54 African Art Fair London, Art Miami

Previously: Art Dubai, Art Paris, Art Miami, EXPO Chicago, PhotoLondon, Photo Basel, Zona Maco, UNSEEN Amsterdam, UNTITLED Miami, art KARLSRUHE, De KunstRAI Art Fair


Studio Alia Ali


Instagram @studio.alia.ali

Benrubi Gallery 529 W 20th St Floor 8, New York, NY 10011

rachel@benrubigallery.com // renee@benrubigallery.com

Loft Art Gallery

13 rue El Kaïssi, Triangle d’or, Bourgogne, Casablanca, Morocco contact@loftartgallery.net

Octavia Art Gallery

700 Magazine St Ste. 103, New Orleans, LA 70130 art@octaviaartgallery.com


Additional Readings & Publications

In Collective Rise, z33 Contemporary Museum of Art & Design, 2022-23

Project Series 93: Alia Ali, Benton Museum of Art, 2020-22

Shades of Blue, Allison Young, 2021

Cartographies of Pattern, design by Zan Zeller, 2021

BORDERLAND, Blue Sky Gallery, design by Chris by Rauschenburg Foundation, 2017

Last updated 15.2.23