Sama Alshaibi


Artist2Artist Fellowship


My work explores the notion of aftermath: the fragmentation and dispossession that violates individuals and communities following the destruction of their social, natural, and built environments. I examine the aftermath of war and ecological demise. Severed access to my homeland of Iraq, followed by years of migration across the Middle East and the United States, has fissured my identity, but also creates novel spaces to inhabit and imagine.

My practice encapsulates these refugee imaginings, where the violence morphs with the poetic, and fragments are made whole. I often use my own body as both subject and medium.  I consider the body a site for encounter, periphery, and refuge, all the while carrying the markings of war and dislocation. The female figure in my work addresses the enduring legacy of photographic images framing the Middle East and North Africa through a gendered, subordinated position. Powerful feminized representations resist a pretext for the subjection of Middle Eastern communities, re-calibrating and counter-speculating a Western and patriarchal social order.

Conversely, my installations and sculptures produce spatial voids to suggest the body's absence. By physically rendering the invisibility caused by exile, this aspect of my practice memorializes those who were uprooted. Through image, video, emerging technology, archive, artifact, object, movement, and narrative, my artwork shares an Arab feminist perspective rooted between projection and creation.

Featured Image: Wasl (Arabic for Union), 2018. Video Still, Courtesy of the Artist.

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Iihya’ – إحياء (Revival) - excerpt, video, 2023. Courtesy of the Artist.

See Without Being Seen (excerpt), video, 2022. Courtesy of the Artist.

Generation after Generation, 2019. Screen print mixed-media, courtesy of the artist. 

Prelude to the Round City, 2023. Multi-media installation: 5 channel LiDAR projections with neon and scaffolding, courtesy of the artist. 
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