Alia Farid’s work explores contemporary urban life against the backdrop of the complex colonial histories of her dual-homelands, Kuwait and Puerto Rico. The artist is interested in exploring these histories, as she is in exploring structures of power, and in how power is represented in the urban milieu. This, she carries out through research around themes of social displacement and migration, national identity and self-representation, Western imperialism, and unreconciled and colonial histories. Working across the disciplines of art, architecture, and urban anthropology, Farid sensually interprets her research-driven practice through drawings, installations, public interventions, and, most recently, film.

Her artistic research especially draws her to study geographies that, in one way or another, she regards as resisting assimilation. Farid draws out and articulates such resistance in attunement with various micro-narratives enmeshed in daily life. In particular, autochthonous customs and what the artist has referred to as informal economies. Until now, each of her socio-geographical subjects have been located in the Global South, a descriptor Farid purposefully employs as a means to complicate the degrees of separation between her dual Gulf and Caribbean heritage.

Farid’s exhibition at Witte de With presents a new commission that centers on the artist’s most recent site of investigation, Haiti. With this work, Farid is no less interested in exploring the correlations between the shaping of environment and perception, as she is in disrupting the finitude of nationhood. Comprised of a two-channel film and associated sculptures and costumes, the exhibition Alia Farid, new work poses a challenge to tendencies of self-categorization and affect through the notion of accumulation.

This will be Alia Farid’s first solo exhibition in the Netherlands. The exhibition is curated by Rosa de Graaf, associate curator, Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art.

—Supported by