Alanbari is an artist, architect and visual director based in London. Her work is about translating artistic vision into reality, ranging from the creation of art and cultural events to the creation of specific pieces of paintings, photos and videos. She uses her architectural and fine art backgrounds to tell the story of people’s lives, identity and spirit. Her approach to art is holistic, in her commitment to making art herself and in being a vehicle of communication for other people’s artistic expression.
Iraqi born and multicultural in her approach, her language of choice is that of magical realism. She uses it to bring alive ideas and stories from contrasting cultures, anthropomorphizing objects and harnessing the power of compelling story telling. The human body, maps and satellite images are key to her work for their power to record and narrate.
She has recently exhibited and visually directed shows at several cultural institutions of international renown, including the Saatchi Gallery, Christies Auction House and The Royal College of Art in London. Alanbari has founded a curriculum called “Self Development Through Art”, also at The Saatchi Gallery, which she taught there focusing on giving students a mindful decision making process.
Her Masters at Chelsea College of Art culminated in the photographic series “Fantasmaa”, probing the field of identity through the use of fantasy. Using metaphor to say what can not be expressed by other means, the resultant portraits depict the subject’s interior landscape rather than their physical outward appearance.
“Fantasmaa” equally comments about the social gaze, specifically how women are portrayed and is Alanbari’s response to the ubiquitous mass media imagery depicting women in stereotypical fashion. The female body is too often appropriated by the media, which tends to exhibit it for display for the traditional male gaze. There is not enough imagery showing the depicted woman’s experience, where her body, even if it is unclothed, is more about her experience than about the viewer.
For more info see the short documentary below on the ideas behind Alanbari's art work (2009)