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Seattle Art Museum (SAM)
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Untitled, from the Greenhead series

Image Coming Soon

Untitled, from the Greenhead series


Laylah Ali

American, born 1968

"I wanted to make a figure I hadn't seen before-one that acted as a question mark and prompted both me and the viewer to ask: Who is it? What is it? Why does it exist? Rather than a figure that comes with historical associations that immediately reveal themselves." (Laylah Ali)

Clean lines, appealing colors, and crisp shapes in linear patterns that resemble comic strips are the structure within which Laylah Ali places her figures/creatures/alien beings. Their outfits resemble uniforms, their expressions are varied, but they are not characters that can be recognized or easily identified. Ali doesn't provide a text to explain her intent, preferring that viewers supply their own explanations.

Gouache on paper
10 x 11 1/4 in. (25.4 x 28.6 cm)
Gift of the Seattle Art Museum Volunteers Association and P. Raaze Garrison
Not currently on view


Exhibition HistorySeattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, "The Art of Protest" April 27, 2000 - January 21, 2001

Boston, Massachusetts, Institute of Contemporary Art, "Laylah Ali". April 1, 2001 - July 15, 2001

Indianapolis, Indiana, Indianapolis Museum of Art, "Laylah Ali", October 19, 2002 - January 19, 2003

Houston, Texas, Contemporary Arts Museum, "Splat Boom Pow! The Influence of Cartoons in Contemporary Art", April 13, 2003 - June 29, 2003

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, "Africa in America", December 18, 2004 - January 1, 2006

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, "Black Art", March 25, 2008 - November 9, 2008 (3/25/2008 - 11/9/2008)
Published ReferencesRothschild, Deborah et al. "Laylah Ali: The Greenheads Series." Williamstown, MA: Williams College Museum of Art, 2012, cat. no. 54, p. 116, illus. pl. 54 (not credited as SAM collection)

Seattle Art Museum acknowledges that we are on the traditional homelands of the Duwamish and the customary territories of the Suquamish and Muckleshoot Peoples. As a cultural and educational institution, we honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future. We also acknowledge the urban Native peoples from many Nations who call Seattle their home.

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