Tucson Museum of Art Acquisition of Alia Ali's Interstellar

From the Tucson Museum of Art

"The first acquisition made through TMA’s new Contemporary Photography Fund is a work by internationally acclaimed multi-media artist Alia Ali. Interstellar, from the FLUX series (2019–2021), will be on view starting in October 2021. A forthcoming project with the artist is slated for fall of 2022.


In FLUX, Ali draws the viewer’s attention to the textile as a document in which politics, economics and histories collide. The series focuses specifically on wax print, a wax-resist dyeing technique with multiple names including African wax print, Dutch wax print, Ankara and batik. Wax prints were first seen in India, China and Java. Colonial trading by the British and the Dutch moved objects, ideas and humans across land and, more often, water. Trans-global trade routes networked across the oceans and seas from Europe, around Africa, along the Arabian coast, through South Asia reaching East Asia, and back. This fabric maps colonial trade routes, complicating the origin of the textiles whereby they exist in a constant state of flux.


FLUX is a series of shifting photographic artworks depicting silhouettes that are warped by textile, saturated in colors and patterns. Each frame is upholstered with wax print from Cote d’Ivoire, resulting in sculptural works. With bursts of saturated colors and hyperoptic motifs, the images seem to vibrate, obscuring the complex and sometimes iniquitous origins of the fabrics."

July 20, 2021