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Art & design

Khadim Ali: Invisible Border

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In his largest Australian solo exhibition to date, Hazara artist and 2021 UNSW Alumni Award winner Khadim Ali explores the normalisation of war and the experience of refugees through a series of poetic installations and paintings.

‘Invisible Border’ comprises sound installation, miniature painting and a monumental 9-metre-long tapestry, handwoven by a community of Hazara men and women, some of 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 Shahnameh, 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.

Read more about Ali's 2021 UNSW Alumni Award here

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