Emii Alrai (b.1993, Blackpool) is an artist based in Leeds. Alrai’s practice is informed by inherited nostalgia, geographical identity and post-colonial museum practices of collecting and displaying objects. Focusing on the ancient mythologies from the Middle East alongside personal oral histories of Iraq, Alrai weaves together narratives by forging artefacts and visualising residues of cultural collision. Drawing references from objects in museum collections, ancient writing from the Middle East and cultural memories, her work questions the value and origins of artefacts, as well as navigating the experience of diaspora.
She studied her BA in Fine Art and an MA in Art Gallery and Museum Studies at The University of Leeds. In 2020, she undertook a residency in Calabria with In-ruins, Italy, and was selected for the Triangle Asterides Residency, Marseille. In 2019, she participated in the Arab British Centre Making Marks Project in Kuwait and the 2018 Tetley Artist Associate Programme. Upcoming and Recent group and solo exhibitions include: Eastside Projects, Birmingham, UK (2022), Visual Arts Centre, Clarington, Canada (2021), Threshold, Leeds, UK (2021), Jerwood Arts, London, UK (2021), The Tetley, Leeds, UK (2020); VITRINE, London (2019), Fallow, Rectory Projects (2019), Two Queens, Leicester, UK (2019); GLOAM, Sheffield, UK (2018); (2018); Caustic Casual, Salford, UK (2017); Hutt Collective, Nottingham, UK (2017). Blackpool)
Emii is the second-year Future Collect artist. Her new commission will be shown at The Hepworth Wakefield in Spring 2022, and acquired for Wakefield’s permanent art collection. The new work will be accompanied by a public programme which will include study days, conversations, and work with local ESOL communities.