The People of Pattern by Alia Ali

Alia Ali is a Yemeni-Bosnian-American multi-media artist and visual storyteller. Having traveled to fifty-three countries, lived in seven and grown up among five languages, her most comfortable mode of communication is through image and multi-sensory mediums. Her extensive travels have led her to process the world through interactive experiences. As a child of two linguists, Alia believes that the interpretation of verbal and written language has dis-served particular communities and presents more of a threat than a means of understanding.

The People of Pattern Project was inspired in January 2016 during the lead-up to the United States' primaries. Hateful speech spouted out by Trump directly targeted women, Muslims, Jews, Mexicans, Black Americans, Africans, Arabs, Japanese and an endless list of other groups and minorities. This misinformation continued to be picked up by media channels and was/is taken as truth by a growing number of individuals. This project sets out to balance this discourse of hatred by means of art and knowledge. If we have forgotten that we have our humanity in common, then I introduce another thing we have in common, fabric. 

From June ‘16 to January ‘17, artist Alia Ali is carrying out the People of Pattern Projectas in an interactive online archive of textile patterns ( as well as documentary images of the journey ( With the help of locals and art associations, Alia draws on her experiences within each culture to produce portraits of textiles highlighting fabric as something that is of our earth, a manifestation of our imagination, a reflection of our environment and an archive of our collective stories. The People of Pattern Project delves into a variety of cultures around the world and discovers them through their unique textiles, artisans, and processes of making them.

June - Appliqué, dyeing and weaving (Oaxaca, Mexico)

July - Silk weaving, ikat and suzani (Bokhara and Margilon, Uzbekistan)

August - Batik and block printing(Yogyakarta, Indonesia) 

September- Indigo and mud dyeing (Kyoto and Tokyo, Japan)

October and November- Dyeing and embroidery (SAPA, Vietnam)

November  - Block printing and silk (Udaipur, India)

December - Kanga (Kenya)

December - Brocade (Morocco)

All photos by Alia Ali