Khadim Ali: Invisible Border
- When 20 Aug - 20 Nov 2021
Cnr Oxford St & Greens Rd Paddington NSW 2021
TUES TO SAT, 10AM–5PM
+61 2 8936 0888
Due to COVID-19 restrictions extending across NSW, UNSW Galleries remains closed to the public, and we have postponed the opening of ‘Khadim Ali: Invisible Border’. We will closely monitor the public health advice as it evolves and hope to reschedule the exhibition later in the year.
I became other. I became one of the wearied, dusty faces from across the border. And although there was no boundary between us, and we were all citizens of one country, suddenly an invisible border of horror was drawn around me that made it impossible to get out. Khadim Ali
In his largest Australian solo exhibition to date, Hazara artist Khadim Ali explores the normalisation of war and the experience of refugees through a series of poetic installations and paintings. ‘Invisible Border’ comprises of sound installation, miniature painting and a monumental 9-metre-long tapestry, hand woven by a community of Hazara men and women, some who have lost family members in war.
Ali’s interest in tapestries developed soon after his parents’ home in Quetta, Pakistan was destroyed by suicide bombers. Amongst the rubble and debris left from the blast, a collection of rugs and weavings remained the only thing intact: miraculously able to withstand the reign of terror inflicted upon his family and community. In this new large-scale tapestry, and other works, Ali explores the impact of war, trauma and displacement drawing parallels from the Book of Shahnameh, a Persian literary masterpiece comprising of 50,000 couplets and written between c. 977 and 1010 CE.
Just like the many great mythic tales in the Shannameh, Ali’s intricate works depict stories of demons and angels, conquest and war through the lens of the persecuted Hazara community. Expressing the profound grief, trauma and loss experienced at the hands of modern-day warfare, Invisible Border is a necessary and vital exhibition during a time of political propaganda, violence, and fear.
Curator: Liz Nowell
An Institute of Modern Art touring exhibition
Banner: Khadim Ali in collaboration with Sher Ali, ‘Urbicide’ 2019. From ‘Flowers of Evil’. 11-channel sound: steel, metal, gold leaf; nylon thread on machine, woven rug, dimensions variable. Installation view: Sharjah Biennial 14: ‘Leaving the Echo Chamber’ 2019. Commissioned by Sharjah Art Foundation. Courtesy of the artist, Sharjah Art Founda1on and Milani Gallery, Brisbane.
Tile: Khadim Ali, ‘Sermon on the Mount’ 2020. Collection: National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, purchased 2021. Photo: Carl Warner