Outspoken humanitarian, musician and activist, M.I.A. arrived in London at 10 years old - a Sri-Lankan Tamil refugee, who went on to graduate at Central Saint Martins for fine art, film and video.
M.I.A. has become one of the most important and potent multi-medium artists of this millennium. Her career spans 5 studio albums, international performances, multiple sold-out world tours, GRAMMY® and Academy Award recognition, while continuously pushing the boundaries of digital and ideological possibilities. M.I.A. has never lost touch with her indelible punk spirit that inspired her glitching directorial debut; Elastica’s Mad Dog music video, to her self-directed tour visuals, graphics and NFT’s that continue to bend minds to this day. She consistently paves the way in the music and digital art space and helped create a community of outcasts during the defining years of the internet, a spectrum of influence that is unrivaled by a recording artist.
While blazing trails on a global scale with her genre-defying music, M.I.A. continues to use her art and platform to support various global causes, whether to help build schools, stand up for victims of atrocities, or support impoverished communities, M.I.A. remains one of the most important and influential artists of a generation.
Catalyzed at the crossroads of art, activism, and fashion, her seminal breakthrough album KALA arrived with force in 2007. An insurgent pastiche of hip-hop attitude, world music connectivity, high fashion disruption, and radicalized consciousness, Rolling Stone and NME both christened it as one of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time.” It earned a gold certification and spawned the quadruple-platinum generational anthem “Paper Planes.” Indicative of its impact, the mega-smash appeared in the Academy® Award-winning Slumdog Millionaire directed by iconic filmmaker Danny Boyle. Other collaborations of note include with Madonna, Kenzo, Romain Gavras, Nicki Minaj, A.R. Rahman to name a few.
M.I.A. credits her father’s work as a historian and mediator between the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tigers for her political and engaged outlook. While her mother’s work as a seamstress was formative in the creator-maker part of her identity. When she received her MBE, she was given one of the medals her mother had made. A true full circle moment for the ground-breaking artist.