edit: I made a mistake I think with a fundamental aspect of lift (that sustaining lift fundamentally consumes power, even ignoring form and friction drag…resolving this)
Have you ever tried inverted flight with some of the airliners? A380, B747, E175, etc. They all fly inverted. Would IRL physics actually allow this? After all, the maximum curve in the airfoil is at the top of the wing.
Why look in the mirror? You are a solid object, which takes up space such that air is vacant from the volume you occupy. And (I’ve seen it estimated) the human body has a glide ratio of about 1:1 (skydivers moving forward).
Take a step forward. The air must rapidly fill the void where your body was.
A wing moves forward. Air must rapidly fill the void of its prior location. The faster the wing moves, the bigger the volume void revealed that needs to be filled per unit time. This results in an ongoing pressure deficit, redirecting the motion of passing air. A pressure deficit that increases with speed.
Just make sure this low-pressure area is on top (to lift the wing up), which pulls passing air down as a response to filling the void (Newton’s 3rd law, below).
Where does the low-pressure area originate? All along the trailing boundary of the wing, where the vacated void is continuously being exposed.
Look at the trailing boundary of any wing. The trailing boundary is always on top of the wing (the curve’s shape is always contoured this way). The AoA adds to the total trailing boundary.
In inverted flight AoA creates practically all of your trailing boundary at the top of the wing. You can test it and see that AoA is pretty essential when you are flying upside down.
The contour of the airfoil has the primary purpose of optimizing lift to drag ratios, and stall performance. A flat plank, for example, flies well when it’s outside of its stall range. But its non-stall range is quite narrow.
(note: the airfoil is usually contoured so that it can produce some lift at zero AoA, but this contour is not essential to producing lift; AoA is your main tool for producing and controlling lift)
The trailing boundary void connects the notion of low pressure holding up the wing from above to Newton’s 3rd law: air forced down is equal to the force of lift holding you up: The wing is pulled up, because air is forced down.
Air forced down, cuts into the clouds
Flat wings fly: