Photographer Alia Ali's evocative images visualize the rise of nationalism globally
Emerging Photographer Alia Ali's award winning series confronting the rise of nationalism internationally was a recipient of the 2017 Flash Forward Emerging Photographers Award
Alia Ali is a Yemeni-Bosnian-American multimedia artist. She has lived in seven countries and grew up among five languages—both her parents are linguists—so it's hardly surprising that her most comfortable mode of communication is through images and multisensory mediums. She has also travelled extensively through 63 countries, helping to nourish her interest in people, place, and the processes that unite and divide us.
Her latest work, BORDERLAND, was selected as a winner in the Magenta Foundation's 2017 Flash Forward Emerging Photographers Award. In Alia's series of portraits, the subjects are wrapped in layers of fabric from 11 regions around the world—all of them targeted by recent xenophobic and anti-immigrant rhetoric that is taking place in the West. The project explores the idea of borders, which both include and exclude people, with the fabric itself creating a type of border between the subject and viewer. Is it keeping each subject in or keeping us out? BORDERLAND also addresses the alarming rise of nationalism, what that means, and the danger of excluding those that do not fit into the accepted mold—including indigenous people, immigrants and refugees.