Alia Ali: Blue Note

9 September - 12 November 2022

Foto Relevance is pleased to present Blue Note, the gallery's second solo exhibition of works by award-winning multidisciplinary artist Alia Ali. Featuring stunning works from the new LIBERTY and IKATIKAT (2022) series, as well as a selection of fresh works from other series, the exhibit showcases photographic works that see the artist camouflage her sitters in elaborately patterned fabrics. Concealing her subjects' identities in traditional (and often controversial) textiles, and thus anonymizing them, she exposes fraught global histories of colonialism, migration, and language through the richly-colored, enigmatic images.

Ali's work explores the myriad of connections which invisibly bind together pattern and textiles, linguistics and cartographies, peoples and expression. These serendipitous moments of interrelation are captured in the body language of the sitter, the subtle tilt of their head, the careful positioning of pattern draped over their body. Ali's new work is a love letter to those who taught her all she knows of this constellation - to her mother, to the fabric merchants in the marketplace, to the Master Artisans, to the keepers of knowledges, to the storytellers, to the tea makers, to the dyers, to the land. Ali shows that design cannot be divorced from context. Her work subverts the colonial gaze, presenting beauty rather than suffering, ancestral knowledge rather than contemporary trauma, empowerment of the multiple rather than the reduction into a singular. Blue Note will be on view at Foto Relevance from September 9 — November 12, 2022. 


FotoFest is a Houston-based contemporary arts organization dedicated to advancing photography and visual culture by presenting exhibitions, public programs, and publications. In addition to the organization’s year-round programming, FotoFest organizes a city-wide biennial project in the form of large-scale central exhibitions, curated lectures, performances, a symposium, and film programs. Fotofest has been in operation since 1983. For the third time, Foto Relevance Gallery is a participating space in the FotoFest biennial. Our featured exhibition Alia Ali: Blue Note, is on view September 9– November 12, 2022.