Al-Ani came to Palestine in 2003 as an Al Ma’mal artist-in-residence to in order to research the Nativity route that Joseph and Mary took from Nazareth to Bethlehem.
Born in Iraq 1966. Al-Ani earned a fine art diploma from the Byam Shaw School of Art, BA in Arabic at the University of Westminster and Photography MA from the Royal College of Art. Al-Ani’s personal experience of displacement provided the inspiration for her work. She reexamines the personal relationship to her Arab background that developed when she rejected her Arabness upon leaving Iraq for Britain early in life. Working in photography and video installation, Al-Ani’s early work explores issues around sexual and gender politics. Studying the literary and visual representations of Middle Eastern women by late 19th and early 20th century Europeans, Al-Ani focused on the representation of women, in particular, the fetishised oriental woman in western art and photography, issues at the heart of the differences between east and west.
Al-Ani’s recent work focuses more abstractly on the ways in which memory, games and other rituals integrate their participants into a single entity - the videos are meditations on the relationship of cooperation and dependency involved in cultural practices. For Al-Ani, the work is also a way to deal with the gap between personal and historic narrative, as instilled from the idea of the structure of memory and word games. In filming herself, mother, and sisters in a kind of group performance, Al-Ani makes use of simple black and white film technique to present a dialogue that interrogates the subtleties and ambiguities of the past and present, while maintaining her own personal sensibility.
The artist’s solo exhibitions include: 2005 The Visit, Tate Britain, London. 2004 Jananne Al-Ani, Norwich Gallery, Norwich. 1999 Constructed Identities, Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC; Jananne Al-Ani, Imperial War Museum, London. 1998 Margaret Harvey Gallery, St. Albans. 1997 Harriet Green Gallery, London. Group exhibitions include: 2006 Regards des photographes arabes contemporains, Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris. 2004 DisOrientation, Haus Der Kulturen Der Welt, Berlin. 2003 The New Shehrazades, Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona. 2001 Attitude: A History of Posing, Victoria & Albert Museum, London.