Rula Ali was born in Qamishly, Syria, in 1981 and lives in Berlin. She took her BA in English Literature at the University of Damascus in 2011, and in Sculpture at the Walid Ezzat Institute for Art in Damascus. Since then she has been living in Berlin and has participated in several exhibitions, workshops and teaching projects. She also worked for the Syria Untold website, archiving the creative and civil resistance movement in Syria.
“I arrived in Germany at the end of 2014. From the beginning of my stay in Germany, I started to build my career as an artist – by networking, researching my new artistic identity and looking for a new artistic approach. I managed to build good connections with different cultural and art organizations in Berlin where I held several art workshops. My main focus is to highlight socio-political issues concerning discourse, diversity and borders of communication between different cultures and political systems. I use mainly, but not only, textiles and clothing conceptually as a material to express my ideas.” R.A.
Rula Ali was the assistant curator of the exhibition Syria off Frame (2015) with 140 artworks by Syrian artists living inside and outside Syria, as part of the Imago Mundi collection, exhibited in Venice, Italy. Cancel is an artwork created by Rula Ali as a memory of all the Syrian artists who wanted to be part of the exhibition but could not because their artwork could not get through the borders between Syria and Germany.
Chairing is the Opposite of Sharing
The chairs embody the spaces which are unreachable, but also they represent power, they are for the people in power, who can easily reach these chairs and sit on them. In front of the chairs there is a chain to prevent people from going in and sitting on the chairs, the chain represents the border, which nobody can pass without having the right passport and the permission from the person in charge. Why two chairs not three? Why not millions of chairs? Why are there chairs? Who is in charge of allocating a space, when the space could be the whole world?
What is your definition of dialogue? Do you find it difficult to have a dialogue? Have you ever thought about an object or magical tool that makes dialogue easier? Three questions were asked to a group of Syrian people through video interviews the artist recorded with them, as an experimental work to observe the concept of dialogue from different perspectives. The various and complicated solutions provoked her to simplify each concept by embodying it through an object or tool which is not necessarily logical or functional. Childish expressions imagined by the interviewed people and tools to enable communication, in their opinion: an embodiment of her attempt to create manifestations of dialogue and individual visions of each person being interviewed.