Zena Assi

Zena Assi (1974) is a Lebanese multidisciplinary artist.

Portrait of Zena Assi by Gilbert Hage

. . . Zena Assi . . .

Born in Lebanon, in 1974, Zena Assi lives and works between Beirut and London. She graduated with honors from l’Academie Libanaise des Beaux Arts (ALBA), where she received a master’s degree in advertisement. Later on she worked in Saatchi&Saatchi advertisement agency for a few years in Beirut, and taught drawing and visual communication in different universities. Since 2005, she has been producing artistic work to depict and portray the socio-cultural aspect of our contemporary urban society.

After living and working in her birth country for 40 years, Assi moved to the UK in 2014. Her contemporary work draws inspiration from the relations and conflicts between the individual and his spatial environment, society and its surroundings. Her pieces are punctuated by strong visual references to her native Beirut and the predicament of its citizens. The work takes shape in installation, animation, sculpture, and mainly paintings. Many of her pieces were repeatedly shown in different international auction houses (Christie’s Dubai, Sotheby’s London, and Bonhams London) and are part of various public as well as private collections.

Assi has exhibited in solo as well as collective shows across Europe, the Middle East and the United States of America including- Alwane gallery (Beirut Lebanon), Subtitled Apeal Royal College of Art (London UK), Artsawa gallery (Dubai UAE), Zoom Art Fair (Miami USA), Shubbak (London UK), Beirut Art Fair Biel (Beirut Lebanon), Abu Dhabi art fair (Abu Dhabi UAE), Espace Claude Lemand (Paris France), Cairo Biennale (Cairo Egypt), Rebirth Beirut Exhibition Center (Beirut Lebanon), The Mall galleries (London, UK), Albareh gallery (Manama-Kingdom of Bahrein), CAP Contemporary Art Platform Gallery Space (Kuwait), Art13 & Art14 London Fair (London UK), Overture Show of Contemporary Art (Miami USA), Journey through our heritage BEC Beirut Exhibition Center (Beirut Lebanon), London Art Biennale (London UK) and Venice Art Biennale (Venice Italy).

Themes that are central to her vision include present-day issues related to countries in the Middle East as they battle with internal strife and civilian unrest. The artist uses various supports and mediums to document and explore the cultural and social changes around her.

Her work replicates the tumult, angst and cacophony that everyday life in the city is fraught with. Assi’s use of pallid colors, jagged angular outlines and intricate layering, imbues inanimate objects, landscapes and buildings, with the emotional burdens of their inhabitants. The artist’s central concerns evolve around issues of dual identities, multiplicity, and the potential for residing in this ‘in-between’ space.

. . . Zena Assi . . .

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. . . Zena Assi . . .

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