Aisha Ali, a young woman with Egyptian and Italian roots, moves from Pittsburgh to Los Angeles at the height of the swinging ‘60s, where she dances in some of Old Hollywood’s most storied venues. But a search for her deeper roots leads her to Southwest Asia and North Africa, where she single-handedly documents hours and hours of music and film from Algeria, Libya, Tunisia, Morocco, Turkey, and Egypt. She goes on to publish six albums on her own label, ARAF, but much of it remains locked away on the reels which line the walls of her home in Los Angeles.
Aisha Ghazaiya Dance, c. 1983, West Bank, Egypt. Photo credit: Ahmed Baron.
Aisha In The Studio, c. 1965, Hollywood, CA. Photo credit: Maurice Inez.
Aisha Dances with Bedouin Musicians, c. 1973, Nazlet Es-Samman, Egypt. Photo credit: Ali Ashur El-Gabry
Aisha Raqsat Al-Shaer, c. 1965, Los Angeles, CA. Photo: Maurice Inez
Aisha Dances With Khyria of the Banat Mazin at a Wedding Party, c. 1997, Luxor, Egypt (Video still). Photo credit: Ahmed Baron
A handful of reels from Aisha’s extensive collection. Photo credit: Myke Dodge Weiskopf