Art21 Extended Play

Laylah Ali | Meaning

While painting in her Williamstown, Massachusetts studio, artist Laylah Ali discusses the imperative she feels to make things and the nuanced relationship of political and personal events to the work.

Laylah Ali creates gouache-on-paper paintings that take her many months to complete. Ali meticulously plots out in advance every aspect of her work, from subject matter to choice of color, achieving a high level of emotional tension in her paintings as a result of juxtaposing brightly colored scenes with dark, often violent subject matter.

VIDEO | Producer: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Interview: Susan Sollins. Camera: Joel Shapiro. Sound: Tom Bergin. Editor: Mary Ann Toman. Artwork Courtesy: Laylah Ali.


  1. Perhaps she is guided by something outside of herself.
    I enjoyed this video, and glad to have found my way back to remembering art:21. It is a great program!

    This video reminded me of a talk that author Elizabeth Gilbert gave at a TED conference. Very good, I recommend it to anyone enjoying Laylah Ali’s comments in this video:
    She talks about where creativity and genius come from.

  2. Pingback: Laylah Ali | The Art Book Blog

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