Ala Ebtekar

Ala Ebtekar describes his work as “a visual glimpse of a crossroad where present day events meet history and mythology”. As a young teenager he joined the seminal group K.O.S. (Kids of Survival), working with artist Tim Rollins on collaborative artworks involving groups of urban youth. He received his BA from the San Francisco Art Institute and his MFA degree from Stanford University. His work has been exhibited internationally and throughout the United States in shows such as “One Way or Another: Asian American Art Now”, a touring exhibition originating at the Asia Society, NYC, and in the “2006 California Biennial” at the Orange County Museum of Art. He is a visiting lecturer at UC Berkeley and Stanford University. Ala Ebtekar lives and works in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Ebtekar’s work inhabits a realm where past and present collide in a perpetual dance of deconstructed and reconstructed time and space. With meticulous attention to conceptual intent and physical execution, he deconstructs and reconstructs time, space, and history, creating an organic, hybridized visual narrative fertile with infinite interpretations. Equally informed by history and contemporary popular culture, Ebtekar generates a catalytic visual language that expands the circle of cultural conversation. The figures in Ebtekar’s work inhabit a space where past and present collide, and they frequently emerge from the boundaries of old book pages and from the austere vastness of large pieces of paper, like parables from another time.  Yet, the surprise of seeing a modern combat helmet and rifle bandolier in the midst of traditional armor, or the silhouette of a tank overlaid with sword wielding soldiers on horseback, prompts a pause.  The past and present mingle in a complex dance of ideologies, allegories, and consequences.  Ebtekar imagines this world with a measure of grace and civility, the latent conflict frozen in the moment, with its participants wearing expressions of calm and resolve, as if they knew how history would be written all along.

Some of Ala Ebtekar’s work:

The Invisible Fold:

The Breeze Of Tim:



Key 4:

Key 3:

Flower 5:

Flower 3:


(all info and pictures kindly provided by Ala Ebtekar)

Check out Ala Ebtekar’s website below:


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