Presence of a Fundamental Absence

Visual artist, founding member and President of Doors and Passageways of Return Foundation (Washington DC) ; founding member and General Secretary of Doors and Passageways.

Practicing art for more than twenty years, Ali has already shown his work in America, Africa and Europe.

She is well versed in painting, sculpture, installations and interactive works, as well as video. She has an MA in Arts Education and a BFA in Fine Arts.

She was a recipient of the Pew Fellowship (Philadelphia) and the Fullbright Fellowship (government) which enabled her to develop an expression project and an exhibition entitled Doors and Passageways of Return in an abandoned building in Abidjan (Cote d’Ivoire).

The exhibition site was the home of a gang of 40 abandoned teenagers that Ali had integrated into his project by introducing them to art and organizing an exhibition of their work at the end of his fellowship period. As a result of this project, she established the Doors and Passageways of Return Fundation in 2000 in Washington DC.

The goal of this foundation was to build an art center in Africa that would provide aid and assistance to unemployed youth, and encourage intercultural exchange across the continent and between the continent and the outside world.

In 2000 Passageways Foundation had an exhibition for Gilbert Medeton, (a young Ivorian living on the streets), at the Ramee Gallery in Washington DC. Ali has a proven track record in art education, organizing art workshops, and mounting exhibitions.

  • 7725 Sicap Mermoz - Dakar, Senegal
  • +221 77 978 99 34
  • Skype: muhsanasy
By Muhsana Ali

This work was commissioned by the Penn Museum to accompany the redesign of the Africa Galleries in a 10-year exhibition that opened in November 2019.

This installation reads as an aesthetic echo that adds contemporary visual input as a conversation with the traditional objects on display.

It is a contribution to the process of redesigning the collective mental space concerning Africa in general.

The irregular pattern this work carves out evokes an abstract map with different continents.

Like the life of traditional African objects and artefacts, movement, displacement, circulation, itinerary and re-appropriation all resonate with the shape of the world map as a field work.

The use of old objects found in Africa (iron, bones, ceramics, writings…) are juxtaposed to those new, used and reused in reference to a constantly changing Africa and its diaspora.