In response to the bold statement, “I AM,” Alia Ali investigates the theme in terms of what she is not. To label oneself is to willingly cast oneself in a static mold; yet, each day, as we respond both to major events and to minute decisions, we recast who we are by discovering what we are not.
In these auto-portraits, the artist uses woven newspaper to create a barrier between myself and the viewer. She is both the photographer and the subject, the observed and the observer. This piece questions the fabricated barriers in society that vilify the other. Who holds the power to create an identity? How can we break through the lens through which another views us?
Perhaps it is better for us to embrace the multiple layers of what creates our complex identities by living on the borders of all what we are rather than continually struggling with abridged stereotypes imposed by others. This leaves the question of what do we really know of anyone? Aren’t we all enveloped in stereotypes created by the other? The more we allow these labels to seep into our judgment, the more of a boundary we weave between each other, becoming both the victim and the culprit, all at once.