April 15th marks World Art Day. Proclaimed at the 40th session of UNESCO’s General Conference in 2019, World Art Day aims to promote the development, diffusion and enjoyment of art. UNESCO utilises World Art Day to encourage everyone to join in through various activities such as debates, conferences, workshops, cultural events and presentations or exhibitions. By celebrating World Art Day, we can help spread the message of peace and development through the use of art and the arts, and encourage all generations, present and future to partake in artistic activities.
On this World Art Day, we would like to feature one of Australia’s most acclaimed artists with Afghanistan's origin, Khadim Ali. He is known for his masterful creative works that "poetically explore the experience of displaced people across the globe".
Khadim Ali currently lives and works in Sydney, Australia. After growing up in Pakistan as a refugee, Khadim was trained in classical miniature painting at the National College of Arts in Lahore and in mural painting and calligraphy in Tehran. Khadim's family is from Bamiyan where in 2001 the colossal sixth-century Buddha statues were destroyed. The Shahnameh (Book of Kings) was read to Khadim by his grandfather and its illustrations were his first lessons in art history.
In Khadim Ali’s series of miniatures in the style of Indian Mogul painting, begun in 2007, he explores and updates the motifs of the poem. Rich in traditional and modern motifs of Eastern and Western art-historical references, Khadim's paintings tell stories about loss (of his own cultural heritage and of human values) and about how meaning shifts as words and images are perverted through ideological adoption.
His recent exhibition, Invisible Border, which is considered one of his largest solo exhibition, is open at the Institute of Modern Art in Brisbane. This exhibition was opened on 10 April and will continue until 05 June 2021. Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, HE Wahidullah Waissi, has been invited at the private preview of the exhibition at the IMA on 09 April 2021.
Khadim Ali has had many exhibitions around the globe. His selected exhibitions include the Venice Biennial (2009); Safavid revisited, APT5, Queensland Art Gallery, Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane (QAGOMA, 2006); British Museum, London; No Country: Contemporary Art for South East Asia at the Guggenheim New York (2013) and Documenta (13) (2012). Ali’s work is held in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, Australian War Memorial, Art Gallery of New South Wales, QAGOMA, Brisbane, Victoria and Albert Museum, London and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Recent exhibitions include ‘The Haunted Lotus’ at the Art Gallery of New South Wales (2014); ‘Transition / Evacuation’ at Milani Gallery, Brisbane (2014) and ARNDT, Singapore (2015); On Return and What Remains, Artspace, Sydney (2015); Refugees, Casula Powerhouse, Campbelltown (2016). Ali's work has also been included in The National: New Australian Art (2017), the Dhaka Art Summit (2018), and a solo exhibited titled 'Fragmented Memories' at Gertrude Contemporary.