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Shayma E Aziz
Brooklyn, NY
Website: http://



ARTIST STATEMENT: My practice is an offshoot of two vital experiences: my simultaneous study of ancient Egyptian and modern western art at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Luxor, Egypt, and my life in Cairo, a city choked by patriarchy, where I was often the object of a society dominated by the male gaze. In my work, I appropriate this gaze and represent the female body in ways that disturb social and political taboos, blur pre-defined boundaries, and bring out the pleasures of ambiguity. My practice troubles either-or dualities: East/West, absence/presence, and traditional/contemporary. Among employing multiple/mixed media for two and/or three dimensional art works. I portray nude models in black/coloured ink, isolated against the whiteness of paper. Ink drips from the female figure into vast negative space. At first sight, one would assume that the semi-opaque figures reveal a sense of alienation, intimidation, or ghostly encounters. Except that one knows ink is never used to cover such vast spaces. Here, I use ink as a medium precisely for its intensity, its fluidity, and its complicated relationship to notions of opacity. In an act of reclaiming space, the representations challenge and trouble the male gaze. With them, I am reflecting on representations of the female body both in art history and in Islamic/Arab societies, exploring the sexuality, temperament, and mental state of the portrayed figures. Across these works is an engagement with representations of the female body, her presences, erasures, and distortions under the great weight of patriarchy. Through this work I interrogate the particularities of my experience, using traditions and tools derived from my study of art history across epochs and geographies. I understand my experience as specific and discrete; yet, my practice evokes resemblances and juxtapositions in the contemporary experience of women in the shadow of a shared male-centric history.
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  • Being a fish
    2017
    oil on canvas
    47x31" 120x80cm
    “To Bestialize Her,” a series of strategies, drawings, paintings, interviews and studio practice that is currently evolving, yearning for peer-to-peer exchange, and seeking to activate

  • Being an owl
    2017
    oil on canvas
    47x31" 120x80cm
    “To Bestialize Her,” a series of strategies, drawings, paintings, interviews and studio practice that is currently evolving, yearning for peer-to-peer exchange, and seeking to activate

  • Blue squat
    2015
    ink on paper
    26x22" 76x56cm
    A state of body is a drawing/ painting project investigating the position of female body in both fine art history and our contemporary times within the Arabic speaking region. It explores the sexualit

  • reclining with a banana
    2007
    ink+acrylics on paper
    45x29.5" 115x75cm
    Women in Black" series: where female figures clad in black were portrayed in a way that menacingly reminds us of the gradual disappearance of female bodies from public space. Other chapters of th

  • gaze sitting
    2009
    ink on paper
    45x29.5" 115x75cm
    Women in Black/Silent Erosion series: where female figures clad in black were portrayed in a way that menacingly reminds us of the gradual disappearance of female bodies from public space. Other chapt

  • sitting/red legs
    2007
    inks on paper
    39.4x27.5" 100x70cm
    Women in Black" is an ink on paper series: where female figures clad in black were portrayed in a way that menacingly reminds us of the gradual disappearance of female bodies from public space. O

  • dome
    2015
    mixed media on paper
    47x31" 120x80cm
    A state of body is a drawing/ painting project investigating the position of female body in both fine art history and our contemporary times within the Arabic speaking region. It explores the sexualit

  • at war(k)
    2016
    mixed media on wall
    31'9"x10'-3"
    'At WAR(k)' 2016: a durational/ephemeral mural reflects on the notion of the broken bodies, the screaming bodies which throw themselves in the sea to cross to the other shore with the gre

  • Floating over the Cairene Sky/pyramids
    2010
    pen on digitally printed Google Earth images
    A4
    "Spectral Characters in Cairo Town" is a painting project tracking and portraying alienated characters in the larger than life megalopolis; Cairo. Dating from 2005-2008 and composed of a ser

  • Floating over the Cairene Sky/pyramids 2
    2010
    pen on digitally printed Google Earth images
    A4
    "Spectral Characters in Cairo Town" is a painting project tracking and portraying alienated characters in the larger than life megalopolis; Cairo. Dating from 2005-2008 and composed of a se

  • Moldy Bread series
    2010
    acrylics on digitally printed canvas
    23.6x15.7" 60x40cm
    “Mouldy Bread” is a set of 12 small paintings on printed canvas. Commissioned by Darb 1718 Contemporary Art Centre for the 'Bread – 12 artists, 12 Visions” exhibition in 2

  • squat in blue flora
    2015
    mixed media on paper
    26x22" 76x56cm
    A state of body is a drawing/ painting project investigating the position of female body in both fine art history and our contemporary times within the Arabic speaking region. It explores the sexualit

  • splash
    2009
    ink on paper
    45x29.5" 115x75cm
    Women in Black" is an ink on paper series: where female figures clad in black were portrayed in a way that menacingly reminds us of the gradual disappearance of female bodies from public space. O

  • gaze profile
    2009
    ink on paper
    45x29.5" 115x75cm
    Women in Black/ Silent erosion is an ink on paper series: where female figures clad in black were portrayed in a way that menacingly reminds us of the gradual disappearance of female bodies from publi

  • reclining with aubergine
    2007
    ink+acrylics on paper
    45x29.5" 115x75cm
    Women in Black" is an ink on paper series: where female figures clad in black were portrayed in a way that menacingly reminds us of the gradual disappearance of female bodies from public space. O

  • Death of a Dress
    2017
    ink stained paper + light
    life size dress
    “Death of a Dress.” The life-size paper sculpture of a dress was displayed as a light installation at Form Through Light, a group exhibition held at Cairo’s Opera House and curated b

  • Shame (ayib)
    2013
    acrylics on canvas
    53x49" 135x125cm
    Shame is an acrylics on canvas large portrait of a woman from Upper Egypt.The work is a painting that is aware of being looked at, as it looks back at you. It stops you from moving forward, from doing

  • the other side
    2017
    oil on canvas
    59x39.4" 150x100cm
    in a dream-like scape, the painting depicts immigrants who risk their lives at sea in a quest for change.

  • her back in flora
    2015
    mixed media on paper
    39.4x27.5" 100x70cm
    A state of body is a drawing/ painting project investigating the position of female body in both fine art history and our contemporary times within the Arabic speaking region. It explores the sexualit

  • tribal dance lll
    2015
    inks on paper
    47x31" 120x80cm
    A state of body is a drawing/ painting project investigating the position of female body in both fine art history and our contemporary times within the Arabic speaking region. It explores the sexualit
 








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