Artists-in-Residence (AIR) Program Spring 2018 Laylah Ali

Joan Mitchell Center Artist-in-Residence

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Laylah Ali

Williamstown, MA
Painters & Sculptors Grant recipient (2008)

Laylah Ali is a visual artist who lives and works in Williamstown, MA. The precision with which Ali creates her small, figurative, gouache paintings on paper is such that it takes her many months to complete a single work. Her paintings depicting brown-skinned and gender-neutral “Greenheads”  have been included in the Venice Biennale (2003) and the Whitney Biennial (2004) and were the subject of a major touring exhibition in 2012-2013. Her most recent series of acrylic and gouache paintings is "The Acephalous series." Ali’s works are included in the permanent collections of numerous public institutions, including the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; among many others. Ali is a 2008 Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters & Sculptors Grant recipient.


“My work deals with the amalgam of race, power, gendering, ambition, human frailty, murky politics, and the other complex combinations that we so often treat as separate entities.”


  • Sky (from Land, Sea, Sky series), 2014, gouache, acrylic, and pencil on board, 10 x 11 inches

  • Untitled (from the Acephalous series), 2015, gouache, acrylic, and pencil on paper, 29.5 x 23 inches

  • Untitled, from the series Commonplace Drawings inspired by the archives of Octavia E. Butler, 2016, ink, colored pencil and pencil on paper, 14 x 17 inches

  • Untitled, from the series Commonplace Drawings inspired by the archives of Octavia E. Butler, 2016, ink, colored pencil and pencil on paper, 14 x 17 inches

All works are copyright of the artist or artist’s estate.