With a commitment to advancing social justice through the arts, Alsaden’s curatorial practice advocates for the dissemination of more diverse, inclusive, and global narratives, by decentering and expanding existing canons, and challenging hegemonic knowledge and power structures. He is particularly interested in how artists and architects interrogate collective agency in the public realm and level institutional critique, while envisioning novel visual and spatial responses to the experiences of alienation and belonging. Through his exhibitions, he examines interrelated questions concerning colonialism, geography, violence, displacement, exile, language, and the archive.
Alsaden’s research explores the history and theory of modern and contemporary art and architecture globally, with specific expertise in the Arab-Muslim world and its diasporas. His research is often an inquiry into anti-colonial discourses and creative resistance cultures, those developed in the non-West as well as by Indigenous and racialized communities in the West. He also studies: the politics of space; historiography and endangered heritage; museological and exhibitionary practices; impact of warfare and militarization on the environment; Orientalism and representational tropes; monumentality, commemoration, and public space.
His doctoral dissertation, which he is turning into a book, investigates a crucible moment in post-WWII Baghdad, Iraq, when the city became a locus of unprecedented encounters, transforming art and architecture globally while engendering unique local movements.
Having taught at several institutions at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, Alsaden regularly serves as an invited lecturer and critic at art, curatorial, and design programs. He has published and presented his research internationally, and holds a PhD and an MA from Harvard University, an MArch from Princeton University, and a BArch from the American University of Sharjah.
Originally from Baghdad, Alsaden has lived and worked in different cities around the world. He is currently based in Ottawa, Canada, the unceded and unsurrendered territory of the Anishinaabe Algonquin Nation.