Khadim Ali

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Khadim Ali (Urdu: خادم علی, born 1978) is an Australian painter of Afghan descent, a member of the Hazaras ethnic group.

Early life and education[edit]

Khadim Ali was born in 1978 in the Pakistani city of Quetta to a family of refugees from Bamiyan Province in Afghanistan, who belonged to the Hazara ethnic minority. He grew up in Pakistan close to the Afghanistan border.As a child he was exposed to the beauty of Ferdowsi's Persian epic 10th-century poetic work Shahnameh (Book of Kings), which his grandfather sung, and the miniature paintings that illustrated it.[1]

He studied Mughal miniature painting at the National College of Arts in Lahore, and calligraphy at Tehran University in Iran.[1]


After being a guest artist at the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum in Fukuoka, Japan in 2006, in 2010 Ali moved to Sydney, Australia. In 2012 he graduated with a master's degree in arts from the University of New South Wales.[citation needed]

Practice and themes[edit]

Using classical Mughal miniature methods, Ali drew new illustrations for Shahanama. He uses images from history, poetry, mythology and politics to investigate through art the events of the wars in Afghanistan, the persecution, exile and discrimination, and the loss caused by destruction of culture. He references the Buddhas of Bamiyan, huge statues that were destroyed in March 2001 by Taliban extremists.[1]


In 2006 the artist participated in the Venice Biennale, and in 2012 at the Documenta exhibition of contemporary art in Kassel, Germany.[citation needed]

In February–March 2018, Ali's work was included in an exhibition curated by Abdul-Rahman Abdullah and Nur Shkembi, called Waqt al-tagheer: Time of change at ACE Open, Adelaide as part of the Adelaide Festival. The exhibition showcased the work of 11 Muslim Australian artists, including Abdul-Rahman's brother Abdul Abdullah and photographic artist Hoda Afshar.[2]

Work by Ali is in the collection of the Sharjah Art Foundation.[3]


  1. ^ a b c "Khadim Ali". MCA Australia. Retrieved 30 September 2021.
  2. ^ Nicholls, Christine Judith (2 March 2018). "Waqt al-tagheer: Time of change explores the diversity of Muslim Australian identities". The Conversation. Retrieved 30 September 2021.
  3. ^ "projects - Sharjah Art Foundation". Retrieved 14 November 2021.