Skip to main content

'Every War is a Defeat': Khadim Ali in conversation

27 February 2020
5:30pm - 7:30pm
UNSW Galleries
This event has ended

A conversation with leading artist Khadim Ali on his newly commissioned  site-specific billboard on the exterior of UNSW Galleries, Every War is a Defeat (2019). Born and raised in Pakistan, Khadim Ali’s work is heavily influence by his family’s experience as Hazara refugees, fleeing Taliban persecution in Afghanistan. In this new work, made in collaboration with Ali's colleagues at the Bamyan Art Space in Afghanistan, Ali’s signature demons are overlaid with imagery of modern-day warfare. This conversation with UNSW Galleries Director, José Da Silva, will discuss the development of the commission and Ali's current practice more broadly, considering the concept of good and evil and how this is redefined through shifting perspectives.


More information

Khadim Ali (b. 1978 Quetta, Pakistan; lives in Sydney, Australia) grew up in Pakistan as a refugee, before being trained in classical miniature painting at the National College of Arts in Lahore and in mural painting and calligraphy in Tehran. Ali’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. 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 National: New Australian Art (2017), the Dhaka Art Summit (2018), the solo exhibited, Fragmented Memories (2018), at Gertrude Contemporary and Lahore Biennale 2020. 

Every War is a Defeat (2019) is a public work commissioned with the generous support of Bill Manos through ‘Facing Equality’, an initiative of the UNSW Grand Challenge on Inequality, led by Professors Rosalind Dixon and Richard Holden. 


Image: Khadim Ali, ‘Every War is a Defeat’ (2019), UNSW Art & Design. Photo by Marty Jamieson