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Khizar Ali: “The arts need to be more diverse and environmentally friendly”

We talk to Future 20 artist Khizar Ali about his practice and creating Last Place On Earth

What’s your artistic background?
I studied film and TV production at college but I’ve also done acting for theatre and film. I have also recently started writing (poetry, scripts, stories, creative writing), performing spoken word and dancing.

Tell us about your practice now – what’s the most satisfying thing? The most challenging? How has it evolved?
I enjoy working on ideas and being able to see them to come to life. I have worked with a lot of amazing people and been able to learn a lot from my different practices. I’ve found it hard to get involved with projects and find others to work with but I have found many opportunities. My practice has evolved due to the fact I’ve been involved with various different organisations/groups  like Contact Theatre and the Whitworth Young Contemporaries as I’ve had a chance to explore many different art forms.

What made you want to be a part of Future 20?
It seemed like a great opportunity to show my skills, build my portfolio, learn new things and meet other artists that I’ve never worked with.

What’s the most exciting part of this brief for you?
I just find the whole idea fascinating. It’s the first time I’ve done anything like this and I’m just looking forward to see how it goes.

What do you think art brings to your life?
Art is a unique way for people to express themselves but also a way to relax and get away from normal life. It brings me joy as I enjoy learning and creating and being creative and art combines all of these things together.

We’re living in very unusual times – how do you think art can help us deal with that?
Art has proven to benefit people’s mental health and I know this because not only does it help me but I volunteer for a mental health charity and they run programmes to support young people with mental health issues and art is one method that is used. With art you don’t have to do something a certain way you can just do what you want and it takes your mind away from your worries.

What’s your biggest artistic ambition?
My biggest ambition is to own my own company specifically for different creatives to work on different productions like film, theatre, radio, music etc.

Future 20 is a year-long project – how has that affected your practice?
It has been quite a positive experience as I’ve learnt a lot of skills and had a lot of experiences that have helped me learn how to be a better artist. I’ve had the chance to see what it’s like to work on an exhibition especially one that is being created under such difficult circumstances which has shown me how to deal with things when they don’t go to plan.

What role do you think the arts should play in building the future?
The arts need to be more diverse and environmentally friendly. There needs to be a selection of different people working together rather than the same group of people all the time. Also, the creative industry is one of the biggest industries on the planet and thus produces a lot of waste which can negatively affect the environment so it needs to change for the better.