By Geoffrey C. Koslov
Alia Ali uses a global palette of fabrics and photography to map culture and history. She is a US multimedia artist, photographer, and a global traveler with a Yemeni-Bosnian heritage, who is fascinated by the use and meaning of language and the patterns of hand woven indigenous fabric As Ali expresses it: “Textile unites and divides us, both physically and symbolically.” Her art reflects on the politics of borders, colonization, language and the non-verbal passage of traditions and cultural stories through fabrics created by master artisans from around the world. As a purposeful artist on a mission, Ali has made a concerted effort to meet the craftspeople who create these fabrics. She has traveled extensively to learn about meaning and processes associated with the fabric, patterns and pigments. While the fabrics are regional, the appreciation and production has become global. On the surface, these may plainly look like an exciting colorful presentation, but what is covered and explored in the exhibition “Cartographies of Pattern” is a deeper journey, guided by Alia Ali’s imagery, into the story behind each threaded weave of her BORDERLAND, FLUX, MIGRATION, FLOW, INDIGO and حب (ḥub) // LOVE series.
Karen Navarro, an immigrant from Argentina, with a heritage rooted in an indigenous people, now living in the United States, uses a photography-based multidisciplinary approach to self discovery, womanhood and the impact of social media on ourselves and others. All these concepts are woven together in her use of photography, collage and sculpture. Her work is, at the same time, non-traditional portraiture of others and self-portraiture. Her newest work, “The Constructed Self”, is a continuation of an examination of “self” that threads through all of her previous efforts.
Lou Peralta’s portraiture project “Disassemble” seeks out people from different regions of Mexico that reflect the country’s varied cultural heritage and celebrates the diverse genetic make-up of their physical characteristics. Peralta seeks to build appreciation for a new Mexican identity and overcome certain stereotypes and preconceptions. The images are embedded, sewn, and woven with materials that Peralta says are the “DNA” of Mexican life from the regions that the people photographed call home. She feels her images will create a new energy and consciousness regarding what it means to be Mexican.