Ali Akbar P.N. is a contemporary artist based in Vadodara. He works extensively in collages, videos and artists’ books, and his work revolves around memory, identity, alienation, and desire.
Ali Akbar was born in a small village in Kerala, where most people were engaged in fishing and related occupations. He draws much inspiration from the local stories he heard while growing up, the stories of the history of the land and the political narratives of the contemporary time. Most of his recent works have the recurring duality of Obedience/Disobedience, Past/Present and Absence/ Presence underlying them. Ali Akbar's practice reflects the growing change in cultural patterns that connects the region to a larger context within the Global South. His subjects often relate to trans-cultural and counter-political narratives formed since the recent decade. There is a kind of coastal imagination of his region, which is often neglected by the traditional mainland-terrestrial imagination.
Ali Akbar’s collages explore the connection he develops with the images he comes across daily. Research and meticulous collection of images published in various print and digital media are essential to his artistic practice. Based on digital images, the video work creates an overlapping narrative of history, memory and identity. In the artist’s book, he explores the idea of the book, playing with the pages, inviting the viewers to engage and create their narratives out of the book. It is how he understands and connects with the image-dominated world.