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Al-Ani, Jananne (1966–) - PERSONAL HISTORY, INFLUENCES AND CONTRIBUTIONS, BIOGRAPHICAL HIGHLIGHTS, PERSONAL CHRONOLOGY:, THE WORLD’S PERSPECTIVE, LEGACY

art museum award video

London-based Jananne Al-Ani is an Iraqi-Irish multimedia artist.

PERSONAL HISTORY

Al-Ani was born in 1966 in Kirkuk, Iraq to an Iraqi father and an Irish mother. She is primarily a video and video installation artist and emigrated from northern Iraq to England in 1980 where she trained at the Byam Shaw School of Art, earning a fine art diploma in 1989. Al-Ani earned a B.A. in Arabic from the University of Westminster in 1995, and an M.A. in photography from the Royal College of Art in 1997.

INFLUENCES AND CONTRIBUTIONS

Al-Ani’s early works were photographic but in the late 1990s she began to work most frequently in video. Al-Ani’s work is primarily concerned with the complexities, ambiguities, and power relationships that are part of the processes of cultural contact and mixing. She often draws on her own experience of moving from Iraq to Britain, and of being the child of an Iraqi father and Irish mother, to explore these issues, but she intentionally disrupts the easy correlation between her work and her background. Al-Ani has done a series of pieces dealing with the male gaze and the female body, and the Orientalist and Western male gaze on Middle Eastern women in particular. A number of pieces that both confront and entice voyeurism exemplify her work on this theme, as in Untitled 1 & 2 (1996), as do the works that deal with the politics and practices of veiling.

BIOGRAPHICAL HIGHLIGHTS

Name: Jananne Al-Ani

Birth: 1966, Kirkuk, Iraq

Nationality: Iraqi, Irish; based in Britain

Education: Fine art diploma, Byam Shaw School of Art, 1989; B.A. (Arabic), University of Westminster, 1995; M.A. (photography), Royal College of Art, 1997

PERSONAL CHRONOLOGY:

  • 1996: Photographs Untitled 1 & 2 win John Kobal Photographic Portrait Award, National Portrait Gallery, London
  • 2004: Participates in “Beyond East and West: Seven Transnational Artists” show, Krannert Art Museum, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois
  • 2005: Exhibits with “The World is a Stage: Stories Behind Pictures” show, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; Art Now solo exhibition at the Tate Gallery, London
  • 2006: Participates in “Seventeen Ways of Looking” show, Museum of Modern Art, New York

Her video installations on the veil are part of the larger body of work being produced by female artists from the Middle East examining the complicated issue of the veil from their own diverse perspectives. Another theme running through Al-Ani’s works is the relationship between memory and narrative, a topic motivated by her personal history. Similar to several other prominent artists of Arab descent, Al-Ani’s artistic exploration of her mixed and diasporic identity was initially motivated by the 1991 Gulf War, which brought into focus the interwoven personal and political aspects of life in exile. Al-Ani is particularly interested in the ambiguities of personal histories as constructed through narratives of memory, and has created a series of works involving family members that explore the multiple layers of experience and identity. Her 2005 Art Now , a two-part video installation at London’s famous Tate Gallery, has been her most ambitious project to date.

THE WORLD’S PERSPECTIVE

Al-Ani has exhibited widely in the United States and Europe. In 1999 she mounted solo shows at the Imperial War Museum in London and at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington. In 2004 she participated in the group exhibition “Beyond East and West: Seven Transnational Artists” at the Krannert Art Museum in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, and in 2005 in “The World is a Stage: Stories Behind Pictures” show at the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo. In 2006, her work appeared in the show “Seventeen Ways of Looking” at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Her work has earned her a number of awards, including an Arts Council Grant, 1998; a Renaissance Art Award, 1997; the John Kobal Photographic Portrait Award, 1996; a Fuji, Joe’s Basement & RCA Award, 1996; a South Bank Photo Show prize, 1991; and the East International Award in 2000.

LEGACY

It remains too early to assess the final legacy of this creative artist still in her prime.

Al-Azm, Sadik (1934–) - PERSONAL HISTORY, INFLUENCES AND CONTRIBUTIONS, THE WORLD’S PERSPECTIVE, LEGACY, BIOGRAPHICAL HIGHLIGHTS, PERSONAL CHRONOLOGY: [next] [back] Akkad, Moustapha (1930–2005) - PERSONAL HISTORY, INFLUENCES AND CONTRIBUTIONS, THE WORLD’S PERSPECTIVE, LEGACY

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