About

Ali Zaidi

Indian by birth, Pakistani by migration and British by chance, Ali Zaidi uses his cultural displacement to celebrate commonalities and differences by creating strategies of connection and welcome. Eclectic in his approach, he uses photography, film, live art, social media, food gatherings, touch and massage, with an aim to explore. Zaidi’s art bridges between the rational and the emotional creating an intangible understanding of being.

Currently he is working as a Creative Producer on a feature film in India whilst developing a new body of work 2001 UnMasked: hyper-real-portraits of gender. His works have been seen and experienced nationally and internationally.

Artist statement

My practice is informed by differences that create the vibrancy of our contemporary cultures, communities and civic engagement. Using art as a tool, I explore connectivity of people. Focusing on the personal and collective identities to create spaces that are mutable and inclusive. Through co-authorship and working across disciplines, whilst celebrating the differences, similarities are teased out that ultimately reveal the common good.

Artistic Director motiroti 2004 – 2012

Co-Founder/Artistic Director motiroti 1996 – 2004

Ali Zaidi co-founded motiroti in 1996 with Keith Khan, together they shared its artistic vision till 2004. Besides leading on most of company projects, Zaidi regularly works as a mentor and is an influential figure in the arts nationally and internationally. Specialising in relational aesthetics, audience development and branding he contributes by being on committees and juries of cultural significance, e.g: on the selection panel for The Sackler Hall, Museum of London, to Arts Council’s Decibel and GFEST. He has designed two cinema interiors in London. Cooked with some groovy chefs in Australia, Italy, Netherlands and Singapore. Is a keen gardener, grows vegetables organically on his allotment, and regularly hosts total strangers; couch surfers at his home. Before arriving to UK, in Pakistan he was a photography lecturer at National College of Arts and worked in advertising where he won awards for several campaigns.

Achievements/Awards

Timeout London Dance and Performance award 1993 for Moti Roti Puttli Chunni, Britain’s first Bollywood musical. Performed in English, Hindi, Urdu and universally understood melodrama. It combined live-action and filmed sequences, Bollywood inspired images and ideas, with lavish sets, spectacular costumes and even a ‘wet sari’ dance.

New York OBIE award 2003/2004 for Alladeen, a large-scale multi-platform project seamlessly merging Bollywood and Hollywood. It received huge international media interest in both the content blending of intercultural connectivity, and in digital technology in performance plus as international cross-media project (performance, music video, interactive website all with independent distribution and dissemination methods creating massive global audiences).

60×60 Secs; one-minute film commissions from Britain India Pakistan to reflect on migration, displacement and cultural identity in the 21st century. Broadcast on BBC big screens throughout UK during 2008 Olympics, Indian television and online presence worldwide. Screened as multi-projection installations in UK, India and Pakistan. 60×60 Secs bagged three awards; at Ivey Film Festival 2009, Ontario, Asian Festival of 1st Films (AFFF), Singapore and Satyajit Ray Foundation.

To date one of the most ambitious projects, Priceless brought together high profile art and science institutions together. A multi-site large-scale project involving video and graphic installations, road-shows, mobile units, guided tours to secret archives and major launch event in and around Exhibition Road.  Commissioned by the Serpentine Gallery, Platform for Art and The Exhibition Road Cultural Group (Natural History Museum, Science Museum, Royal Geographical Society and Victoria & Albert Museum).