My works on paper comes from a variety of sources, but the aesthetic references often come from the coffeehouse paintings. The tools and materials often reference the history of miniature technique, which is based on ink and brush, as well as watercolor.
I am drawn to work—like the work of Attar [a 12th century poet] or Nizami, both Persian writers who resemble Gabriel Garcia Marquez in their magical realism. Attar and Nizami interweave fact and fiction, creating complex moments where the boundaries are not clear. My work speaks to the moment when the past and the present meet.
I’m committed to creating works that give a glimpse of a crossroads where present day events meet history or mythology. In a similar way, I prefer not to use the hybrid term, because it implies two pure terms, and who’s to say what is pure and what is not? I prefer the word “synthesis.” Through these moments, we [here Ala refers to those with dual heritages] can portray or shed light on something that others perhaps cannot. So that experience, along with the conceptual background that I received from working with Tim Rollins and KOS, form the backbone/background for what I make. (read more)