Mohammed Alani is an Iraqi-born, Brussels-based artist.
Alani studied at the Institute of Fine Arts in Baghdad, and moved to Brussels in 1997. He later enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts of Jean Jacques Gailliard Saint-Gilles, Brussels, graduating in 2015. “As a student in Brussels, I tried to find an original voice and materials that I could appropriate and call my own. I used chalk and chalk powder to draw and make things.“ His recent solo exhibitions include ‘Trapped’ (2017) at the Hopstreet Gallery Window, Brussels and ‘Connexions’ (2017) at the Academie voor Beeldende Kunst Oudenaande. He has presented work in group shows including ‘100 Artistes en Liberté’ (2016) at the Jewish Museum, Brussels and ‘Alerts’ (2017) at the Cultural Complex of Siliana, Tunisia. He speaks to Ruya from his studio which he shares with other artists. “The mess you see over there is mine,“ he quips In his work, Alani uses a range of found objects such as antique cornices, rugs, colored rubber balls, buckets and frames. “I find them in shops, at home or on the street. If an object catches my eye, and I think that I can make an artwork with it, I take it to studio,“ he explains, “it can sit there for up to a year before I pick it up again.“ With these found objects, Alani makes small, playful interventions.
Alani insists that his work has little to do with Iraq, the Middle East or the Islamic arts. “I trained as an artist in Belgium, and see my work as part of a Western contemporary art discourse,” he says.