FARIBA ALAM 

At what height to bloom, 2021
8”x11” Archival Inkjet Print, 
(edition 1-2  of 5, 2 AP,)
FA- 01
Expansion, Contraction,  2021
8”x11” Archival Inkjet Print, 
(edition 1-2 of 5, 2 AP,)
FA- 03
Fuselage. 2021
8”x11” Archival Inkjet Print, 
(edition 1-2 of 5, 2 AP,)
FA - 02
Calm is a superpower, 2021
8”x11” Archival Inkjet Print, 
(edition 1-2 of 5, 2 AP,)
FA-04
Biography

Fariba Alam is a visual artist based in Brooklyn, New York and Joshua Tree, California, and she is represented by Shrine Empire Gallery in Delhi, India. Her work has been shown at The Queens Museum, The Asia Society, Exit Art, The Museum of African Art, The Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art (MoCADA,)The Museum of Contemporary Art/Shanghai amongst other galleries and art fairs in the U.S. and Asia. Collections include The Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Modena and the Burger Collection. Fariba holds a B.A. in Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures from Columbia College, Columbia University. She is the recipient of a Fulbright fellowship (1998/1999) and holds an M.A. from New York University (2004). Fariba has volunteered her creative services for Sakhi for South Asian Women and The Acid Survivor's Foundation in Bangladesh. She is a founding board member of the South Asian Women’s Creative Collective, and a current board member of The South Asian American Digital Archive.

About the Work

I create large-scale installations that integrate ceramic tile, self-portraits and archival photographs. An intended effect of my work is to stimulate dialogue and reflection on the dynamic interplay of Islamic artistic tradition with more present and personal inquiries of gender, rupture, redemption, and belonging. Simultaneously, religious and secular allegories—with themes of migration, travel and fantasy—often inhabit my narrative influences.  For example, several of my works reference the parable of the Night Journey or Isrāʾ, in which the prophet Mohammed takes a mystical voyage from Mecca to Jerusalem riding a Burāq, a creature half-angel, half-horse. I explore the fluidity between the intangible and real, the tension between spiritual transcendence and corporeal immanence, while space and direction are rendered ambiguous. The monthly series In Silence, in Valor is a continuation of my work and the study of Burāq. Under lockdowns and the physical confinements of the current global pandemic, including limited access to the external world of influences, studio tools, materials and dialogue, I consider what mobility means: the notions of flight and travel have become all the more elusive and fantastical. I create small format works (miniatures) around the metaphor of a steed with the head of a woman and the wings of a peacock, represented by abstracted black and white portraiture. As the tale of the Night Journey, Isrāʾ became connected with that of Muḥammad’s ascension to heaven (Miʿrāj), Burāq replaced the ladder as Muḥammad’s means of access into heaven. In Silence, in Valor is a monthly meditation on our longing for freedom, expansion, and the possibility for collective ascension.