Skip to main content

'Every War is a Defeat': Khadim Ali in conversation with José Da Silva

27 February 2020
6:30pm - 7:30pm
UNSW Galleries | UNSW Art & Design | Cnr Oxford St and Greens Rd
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.

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.

José Da Silva has almost twenty years of curatorial and management experience in art museums, private and public sector environments. From to 2006–18 he delivered an ambitious program of exhibitions and projects at the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA), working across the areas of moving image, contemporary international art and performance. He contributed to curatoriums for the ‘Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art’ in 2006, 2009, 2012, 2015 and 2018 and curated the major exhibitions ‘David Lynch: Between Two Worlds’ (2015) and ‘Earth and Elsewhere’ (2013). From 2014–18 he led QAGOMA’s Australian Cinémathèque – an international market leader for the presentation of moving-image and media art. Prior to working at QAGOMA, he held roles as a curator of public art and design for Brecknock Consulting; developed industry initiatives for Artworkers Alliance; and was a project manager for MAAP – Multimedia Art Asia Pacific.   

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. 


Additional public programs will take place throughout the exhibition period. For more information visit UNSW Galleries


If you have any questions regarding access to UNSW Galleries exhibitions or programs please get in touch by contacting us on:
Email: unswgalleries@unsw.edu.au
Phone: +61 2 8936 0888