Emii Alrai (b. 1993, Blackpool) is an artist based in Leeds, Northern England. Emii’s practice is informed by inherited nostalgia, geographical identity and post-colonial museum practices of collecting and displaying objects. Focusing on the ancient mythologies from the Middle East alongside personal oral histories of Iraq, Emii weaves together narratives by forging artefacts and visualising residues of cultural collision.
Often working at a large scale, Emii mainly creates sculptural installations that recall the mode of museological displays, but which challenge accepted responses. Obviously fictional and fabricated, her sculptures are beguiling and intriguing. They contain elements which are broken or unfinished, and hover between the formal polish of an imperial museum, archaeological digs or the residues of a performance.
Nominated by The Hepworth Wakefield, Yorkshire’s major art gallery, Making Marks has played a significant influence into Emii’s practice, primarily through connecting her to Middle Eastern culture and language through the travel to Kuwait. Visiting collections such as those displayed at the centre Al Amiricani enabled Emii to consider the different modes of display opted for in the Middle East, as opposed to those of the West. Listening to stories of those who live in Kuwait and reflecting on the changing landscape has helped Emii consider how history and the future intertwine, and how tradition can be preserved through objects.
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