Kat Odina Ali
Hailing from a London-based family steeped in the magic of theatre, British-African American artist Kat Odina Ali conjures oneiric worlds through her sculptures and paintings. Her surreal creations pay homage to the likes of Dorothea Tanning, Frida Kahlo, and Leonora Carrington, while threads of her own theatrical upbringing intertwine throughout. Imagine growing up surrounded by set design, where every object plays a role in crafting an immersive experience. This formative influence shines through in Kat's work, as she meticulously considers the placement and interaction of elements within her spaces.
One captivating series, aptly titled "Cocoon," delves into the universe of adolescence. Her "boxworlds," reminiscent of silken moth casings, become three-dimensional collages, each one a dreamscape reimagining this tumultuous period. Within these intimate boxes, the artist explores the subconscious, weaving together dreams, experiences, and memories that paint a surreal portrait of teenagehood. This pivotal stage of intense growth and self-discovery resonates deeply with the artist, who also confronts the complexities of her dual African American heritage, acknowledging the ever-present history of slavery and its impact on her identity.
The genesis of these "boxworlds" is an intriguing tale itself. While residing in the countryside, where she found inspiration working under the moonlit sky, windows aglow, attracting moths to her creative space. She meticulously observed their movements, drawing parallels to ancient celestial theories that once attributed lunar navigation to these mesmerizing insects. This confluence of personal experience and folklore imbues her work with a captivating depth, inviting viewers to step into her dreamlike creations and explore the intricate tapestries of adolescence and identity.
"When I look back on my teen years now, I can't help but think of that bedroom at night, desk lamp on, as my cocoon. The following sculptures, cittings, photographs and sketchbooks experiments were born from that place".
Kat Odina Ali.
Kat in the nature and Kat on the train with eyes - Photography by Anna Mcgrane
Cocoon magazine cover - Photography by Anna Mcgrane
Studio Visit - Photography by Adela Blanco