Sama Alshaibi is a conceptual artist based in Arizona whose photographs and videos situate her own body as a site of performance in consideration of the social and gendered impacts of war and migration. Her “Carry Over” series uses traditional printing processes from the colonial era to recall and subvert historical Orientalist portraits made of Middle Eastern women for western audiences.
Water Bearer II features a ceramic water jug, shaped like a massive wasp’s nest or a grenade, hoisted high above the subject’s head. In Mashrabiya, the Arabesque latticework of carved wood found on the windows of some Middle Eastern homes is substituted by laced razor-wire cutouts. They trap the subject’s face into a box formed as a water pipe.
Alshaibi was named a Guggenheim fellow in photography in 2021. Her monograph, Sand Rushes In, was published by Aperture, NYC in 2015. She has most recently participated in the 55th Venice Biennale and held solo exhibitions at Ayyam Gallery (Dubai, 2019) and at Artpace (San Antonio, 2019), where she participated as the National Artist in Residence. Alshaibi has been exhibited in over 150 group exhibitions. She is Professor and Co-Chair of the Photography, Video and Imaging program at the University of Arizona, Tucson.