Alia Farid (b. 1985) lives and works in Kuwait and Puerto Rico, countries she is both from and whose complex colonial histories she reveals through drawings, objects, spatial installations and film. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from la Escuela de Arts Plasticas de Puerto Rico (San Juan), a Master of Science in Visual Studies from the Visual Arts Program at MIT (Cambridge, MA), and a Master of Arts in Museum Studies and Critical Theory from the Programa d’Estudis Independents at MACBA (Barcelona).
Farid has completed residencies at Beta Local (San Juan), Casa Árabe in conjunction with Delfina Foundation (Córdoba, Spain), Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art (Doha), Art Residency at Altos de Chavón (La Romana), The Serpentine Galleries (London), La Cité Internationale des Arts (Paris), and marra,tein (Beirut). Recent and upcoming shows include participation in the 32nd Bienal de São Paulo, the 20th Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil, the 12th Gwangju Biennale, and Sharjah Biennial 14. Recent and upcoming shows of her work have been presented at NC-arte (Bogotá), Galerie Imane Farès (Paris) and Sultan Gallery (Kuwait). She is also a recipient of the 2018 Art Jameel Commission (Dubai) and Arab Fund for Culture and Arts (AFAC) Visual Arts Production Grant.
I began making work between art, architecture, and urban anthropology. Today I’m still interested in these areas, but with a more focused point on telling how informal networks are forced to make up for lack of formal structure as one of the things I value most is the subversive quality of work that goes unnoticed… often self-initiated.
One of Farid’s most ambitious projects to date has been curating Acquiring Modernity, Kuwait’s participation at the 14th International Architecture Exhibition of la Biennale di Venezia. During this time she led a collective investigation that analyzed the arrival of modernity in the young State of Kuwait and concurrent effects on cultural productivity during this accelerated period of urban transformation propelled by the discovery of oil. Exceeding the limits and duration of the pavilion, she set up a yearlong “temporary school” that drew in people from different disciplines to discuss correlations between perception and the shaping of environments.