Zeina Iaali was born and raised in Australia to Lebanese parents who migrated to Australia in the 1970’s. Since completing an undergraduate degree in Art, majoring in jewellery/object design and a teaching degree in secondary Visual Arts, Iaali has worked in secondary education for over 10 years. Alongside her arts practice and educational role, she worked as an outreach facilitator at South West Sydney TAFE, delivering programs to the most vulnerable in the community. Iaali has been a member of The Refugee Art Project since 2013, hosting weekly art workshops, creating zines and exhibitions showcasing art by refugees and asylum seekers.
Iaali’s sculptural practice employs a range of traditional and industrial materials including perspex, wood, clay and metal. She draws on personal experiences and histories to peel back the layers of identity to reveal the conflicts, tensions and duality of culture and religion. Iaali aims to subvert ideas of invisibility, challenge traditionally restrictive gender roles and the pressures of ‘perfection’ faced by women in contemporary societies.
In 2012 she participated in Australia’s first Muslim women’s artist exhibition, No added sugar at Casula Powerhouse. Alongside eleven collective, Iaali is part of Deep Dirt Collective, an art collective of women of colour formed in response to the lack of opportunities for women of colour in the arts and a desire to connect to each other. Deep Dirt Collective’s first exhibition titled, You Will Not Be Easily Erased was shown at Artspace (NSW) in 2016, exploring materials such as turmeric, coffee, henna and clay; linking experiences of the familiar with a sense of deep ancestry.
Image credit: Zeina Iaali, Sweetly Moulded (2012), Photography by Equilibrium Design.