Sama Alshaibi: Four Series

25 February - 16 April 2022


February 25–April 16, 2022


Friday, February 25, 5–7pm


(February 2022) When Sama Alshaibi was named a 2021 Guggenheim Fellow in Photography, the storied institution commended the Arizona artist for “complicating the coding of the Arab female figure found in the image history of photographs and moving images.”In this solo display, four series spanning a decade of Alshaibi’s practice (Carry Over, Silsila, Between Two Rivers and Negative’s Capable Hands) exemplify her complex and varied approach to this undertaking. The artist often steps into her own frame, crafting self-portraits that draw tense lines between cultural symbolism and personal identity. An opening reception will be held on Friday, February 25, 5–7pm. 


“Creatively exploring the aftermath of war and ecological destruction, Sama’s cultural identity was fractured by forced migration when access to her homeland of Iraq was barred,” writes show curator Isabella Beroutsos. “Visualizing what she calls ‘refugee imaginings’ through contemporary and early photographic methods, the artist demonstrates how violence can morph through the feminist poetic to reshape an identity and ultimately make it whole again. This exhibition will celebrate the arc of Alshaibi’s artistic practice, as she reaches an inflection point in her career: In 2021, she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and Arlene & Morton Scult Artist Award from the Phoenix Art Museum; this year, her work is featured in State of the Art: LOCATE at MOCA Jacksonville. Zane Bennett’s exhibition will be the first to take a broader look at the artist’s oeuvre, presenting the themes threading through her artwork over time.”


Sama Alshaibi (b. 1973, Iraq) works between photography, video, and installation. Her biennial participation includes the 55th Venice Biennale, the 2020 State of the Art (Crystal Bridges Museum of Art, AK), International Art Biennial of Santa Cruz de la Sierra (Bolivia, 2020), 13th Cairo International Biennale (2019), Honolulu Biennial (2017), Qalandia International Biennial (2016), and the FotoFest Biennial (2014). She has exhibited at museums globally, including MoMA (New York), MOCA (Florida), Arab American National Museum (Michigan), MARTA Herford Museum (Germany), SMOCA (Arizona), the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art (New York), Barjeel Foundation (Sharjah), Institut Du Monde Arabe (Paris), Bronx Museum (New York), and Museum of Contemporary Art (Denver). Alshaibi’s work has also been featured at the 24th Instants Video Festival (Mexico and France), BredaPhoto International (Netherlands), International Symposium of Electronic Art (Dubai) and the Thessaloniki International Film Festival (Greece). She has received numerous awards and grants, including the Artpace International Artist-in-Residence (San Antonio, 2019), First Prize Project Development Grant from the Center (Santa Fe, 2019), and the Arab Fund for Arts & Culture Visual Arts Grant (Beirut, 2018). Currently, Alshaibi is a Professor of Photography, Video, and Imaging at the University of Arizona in Tucson.




For press and image enquiries, please contact Marissa Fassano at or call (505) 780-8312 x1002.