Khalid Ali Shows Short Films at Viewpoint Gallery
May 4, 2023
Khalid Ali, Media Arts Instructor, recently showed two of his short films at Viewpoint Gallery. On Saturday, April 15, Ali presented Away from the Grasslands and Squeegee, followed by a presentation on his process and work. Reflecting on the experience, Khalid said, “I’m always thankful for the opportunity to share my work with new audiences. For me, it’s one of the most satisfying aspects of the creative process. The experience often teaches me something about my work. I missed events like this during the pandemic. It’s exciting to see things picking up again. ”
Away from the Grasslands: A behind-the-scenes look at the ethnic Mongolian band, Hanggai, as they gather in Beijing to record a new album. Woven with live concert footage, intimate interviews, and an all-access look at the recording process, this film captures the band’s attempt to preserve the past while creating something altogether new. Hear it from the band members and their producer, acclaimed Dutch musician and producer, JB Meijers, as they weave together musical influences as far back as Genghis Khan, as distant as punk rock, and as personal as the herdsmen songs from the prairies of their childhood.
Squeegee: The “Squeegee Boys” are best known for washing windshields of cars stopped at intersections around Baltimore. Seen by some as hooligans and by others as entrepreneurs, little is known about the actual circumstances that drive these young men to pick up a squeegee. This documentary follows the working days of seven young men as they navigate the busy intersections of Baltimore in search of tips. The footage shows scenes likely familiar to many locals who daily encounter the “squeegee boys” from their cars. But shown from the point of view of the “squeegee boys”, the film offers new insights into the lived experiences of these young men.
Viewpoint Gallery was founded by practicing artist Suyao Tian, who was motivated by her passion for art and its impact, as well as her strong desire to create an active space within the local community. Suyao and her family moved to the neighborhood five years ago, and after getting to know many of the local neighbors, she recognized the need for a space to showcase a diverse range of art and activities, and to foster engagement within the community. Hence, she founded the Viewpoint Gallery to fulfill this vision. Their website states, “At Viewpoint Gallery, we believe that art is for everyone, and we are committed to creating a welcoming and inclusive space where people can come together to celebrate creativity and build connections. We appreciate your support and hope to see you at the exhibition!”
Khalid Ali is a filmmaker and educator from Baltimore, Maryland. Originally trained as a commercial filmmaker in Los Angeles, Khalid developed an interest in documentary film when he began traveling to China with his older brother. Intrigued by the ability of his camera to bridge cultural differences, his experiences there evolved into a series of documentaries about Chinese urban culture, particularly on the margins of society. Since returning home, Khalid has applied the same approach to filmmaking in his native Baltimore. Whether in China or the U.S., his films follow people toiling in humble jobs but who aspire to greatness. Together, their stories show how work can define or defy one’s identity. Khalid taught filmmaking for 11 years at Carver Center for Arts & Technology in Baltimore County before joining Perpich in 2022.