Synopses & Reviews
For the past decade, Laylah Ali has been interrogating the visual language of contemporary society through paintings and drawings inhabited by her subversive characters. The "Note" drawings presented in this catalogue reference Ali's earlier work, yet mark a departure to some degree. While language has always been at the heart of Ali's practice--in its limitations and misinterpretations--she has, in this series of drawings, incorporated actual text into her work. Where her figures were once ambiguous in gender and race, and even questionably human, they now have identifiable attributes of racial and sexual identity portrayed vividly by characters dressed in masks, wigs and a variety of headdresses and costumes. Handwritten directly under and over her figures are random thoughts, snatches of overheard conversation and odd sound bites that question conventional visual markers and allude to racial and political struggles.