She serves on boards and committees with institutions such as Art Dubai, Serpentine and Guggenheim, represents Basel and Tate, is super likeable, educated, and has great taste in contemporary fashion. Did we mention she’s also Libyan royalty? The MOD gets to know the over-achieving and utterly charming Alia Al-Senussi in London
Words by Elle Timms
Alia Al-Senussi arrives at the Delfina Foundation in Mayfair – a residence and show space for young artists for which she is a member of the strategic advisory panel – on a cold, lightly snowy morning clutching a takeaway coffee cup, and introduces herself to every single person on The MOD’s shoot team. Chatter ensues regarding her recent trip to Brazil with a bunch of friends (everyone agrees there’s nowhere better on Earth for meat-eaters, or worse for Wi-Fi connection). She is funny with no showiness, laughing with a warm American accent. The definition of affable, we decide.
Carving an impressive career in the art industry by skilfully networking, managing galleries, nurturing artists and fundraising her way to noteworthy status with the most important institutions, Alia, in her mid-thirties, is a polished powerhouse of knowledge and class. Growing up first in Cairo and then California, and graduating from the East Coast’s Brown University before the London School of Economics with a masters in International Law, she’s a fiercely intelligent citizen of the world. The Libyan side of her family – of which Alia’s father, Idris Al-Senussi, is a younger cousin of the queen consort and later an opposition figure to Gadaffi’s regime – was deposed and forced into exile more than 20 years before she was born. It’s a background full of rich heritage that, when matched with energy levels to make Beyoncé envious, has bequeathed a level of balanced expertise in the bridging of Western and Middle Eastern culture, pinpointed to art. Although she doesn’t describe herself as a collector, per se…