Anida Yoeu Ali exhibits and performs an international year of loss with “In Memoriam: The Red Chador” in the US, Cambodia and Australia

Anida Yoeu Ali

Performance artist and IAS faculty member Anida Yoeu Ali began 2018 without her trademark sequined “red chador” one-of-kind costume. In her latest interview with Crosscut, Ali discussed the disappearance of her garment and her desire to memorialize the work and create anew despite the loss. Ali’s costume was last seen in Tel Aviv, Israel as checked in luggage in December 2017. Months later, the luggage containing the original costume was never found nor returned. Slated for an exhibition titled “Then and Now” in May 2018 at the Asian Arts Initiative in Philadelphia, Ali decided she would continue to make art despite the fatal set back. Her exhibition in Philadelphia included a performance of a eulogy for The Red Chador at the inaugural Center for Refugee Poetics held May 5, 2018. An equally powerful digital altar can be found online where Ali has invited people to reflect on their encounters with the Red Chador around the world.

Following the first memorial in Philadelphia, Ali was also invited to exhibit and perform a second memorial exhibition in Phnom Penh, Cambodia at Java Creative Cafe titled “The Red Chador: In Memoriam.” The work featuring framed archival photos, ritual objects and a newspaper of obituaries was on extended view from July 12 - Sept 15, 2018.

The final memorial and tribute to The Red Chador was recently held in Adelaide, Australia at the 2018 Oz Asia Festival. OzAsia Festival is Australia’s leading international arts festival engaging with Asia. Held over 18 days, the annual OzAsia Festival program presents the best in contemporary dance, theatre, music, visual art, film, and literature from across Asia today to an audience of nearly 200,000 people. Ali’s current exhibition in Gallery 2 at Adelaide’s Festival Centre is on display from Oct 24 - Nov 30, 2018. Ali also gave an interview with ABC Radio Australia regarding her recent exhibition and final performance.

Next year, Ali says she plans to “rebirth” the Red Chador, stronger and even more joyous than before. “Because the work was disrupted she has to come back,” she says, “but in solidarity with other issues that are going on.”