Ghada Amer is a NY-based artist who was born in Cairo, Egypt in 1963 and spent part of her upbringing in France. She studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, received her MFA in painting from the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Nice, and moved to New York City in 1996. She explores numerous themes in her paintings, sculptures, and public garden projects, including cultural identity, definitions of East and West, feminine and masculine, and art and craft. Amer has exhibited at the Venice Biennale, the Sydney Biennale, the Whitney Biennale, and the Brooklyn Museum, among other locations. In October 2018, she will be an honoree at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art’s Awards.
Much of Amer’s production is informed by her personal history. Although Amer’s parents encouraged her academically and her family traveled internationally due to her father’s position as a diplomat, her position as an “outsider” in the West lead her to contemplate questions of cultural identity and hybridity. Amer subsequently applied a hybrid approach to some of her production by combining painting, which she considers a more masculine art form, with sewing and embroidery, which she considers more female forms of expression. Further, in reaction to some of the stereotypical representations of the female in Islamic culture she encountered in both Egypt and France, Amer appropriates images of women that are directed at the male gaze and reinterprets them in her own, often erotic, embroideries and paintings. Through her visually abstract works, Amer engages in a type of post-gender rebellion against pre-established cultural values, commodification, and male-dominated societies.
Ghada Amer: The Breakthrough features a lecture by the New York-based artist Ghada Amer, and two related gallery projects: