Oil on canvas with wood
36" x 28"
Abira Ali is an urban dwelling artist. She studied art at Parsons and Tyler School of Art. In 2009 Abira formed Wisdom Arts Laboratory, a vehicle for teaching art, encouraging imagination and community collaboration. Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Abira descends from a line of artists, writers and creative thinkers. Friends and loved ones have been pivotal in her art- making; encouraging, inspiring and guiding her in this journey. She currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband, artist Gordon Henderson. Their daughter, Eliza Bee Henderson is also an artist.
I am thankful for the moments of clarity in the process of making art. Sometimes I find the work flows and yields curious beauty, but just as often I find myself attempting to resolve chaos and confusion. The studio work I am currently producing comes from years of searching. I believe generosity, forgiveness and honesty can translate into the art-making process, and this is my aim. Through the practice of painting, I discover buried treasure and hope.
My work is inspired by the natural world. Abstract patterns and movement of light appear over and again. Street lights and headlights are common subjects. In my paintings, I interpret the drama I see created by light. I paint water, rain and fog to depict moments when the world loses its harsh edge.
My personal experiences in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and the Santiam river are the source and backdrop for the work I focused on during the Pandemic. Returning again and again to visit Elkhorn Mountain over the years, I got to know this forest intimately. In September 2020, the forest, along with our family cabin, was destroyed by the Beechie Creek fire, when it burned through the Santiam Valley. Oregon lost 2,000 acres of forest to fire, including trees I knew, that dated back almost 200 years.
“Memory Lane” leads up to a clearing where two trails intersect. It was a peaceful spot where wildflowers grew. We called it “The Field Hippy” and thought of it as a place of magic. This painting represents the path, a designated spot just before the forest suddenly becomes deeper, cooler and darker. The path followed Evans Creek, a magnificent creek carved out of a single rock formation with four landmarked water falls. The creek remains, the forest and path are gone. But we are replanting with hope that future generations can once again experience the magic of the forest.