Roshida Abira Ali was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the second-oldest of five children. Her childhood was chaotic; her father was a bossy bully from Bangladesh, and her mother was a Jewish girl from inner city Pittsburgh. The Ali household loved art and creative thinking, but it was mayhem. The family lived in poverty and uncertainty. The phone and electricity were constantly being turned off, the police were often at the door, and strange people came and went. Abira found stability and solace in art making, and art making continues to be a grounding force in her life.
Abira lives and works in Los Angeles with her husband and daughter. She is a painter, an illustrator and the director of a collaborative arts laboratory. Her work with Wisdom Art Laboratory includes a recent collaboration with the Pasadena Museum of California Art to install and build a public art-making Tiny Town out of reclaimed materials in the Kenny Scharf Garage.
Her paintings for the sp[a]ce exhibit are based on experiences and time spent on the Santiam River, in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon. The paintings are an attempt to imagine and simulate the movement of light on the surface of the river, the river rocks and the sky as it appears and dissolves. The magic wands are collected out of the Santiam River.