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b. 1963, Egypt

Ghada Amer Biography

Ghada Amer (b. 1963, Cairo, Egypt) views herself primarily as a painter, but she has worked in a variety of media, producing ceramics, site-specific garden works, photographs, prints, drawings, installations, and performance pieces.

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Her work has always explored ideas related to women, femininity, and gender roles. ‘I believe that all women should like their bodies and use them as tools of seduction,’ Amer stated; and in her well-known erotic embroideries, she at once rejects oppressive laws set in place to govern women’s attitudes toward their bodies and repudiates first-wave feminist theory that the body must be denied to prevent victimisation. By depicting explicit sexual acts with the delicacy of needle and thread, their significance assumes a tenderness absent within simple objectification. Amer continuously allows herself to explore the dichotomies of an uneasy world and confronts the language of hostility and finality with unsettled narratives of longing and love.

Amer’s work addresses first and foremost the ambiguous, transitory nature of the paradox that arises when searching for concrete definitions of east and west, feminine and masculine, art and craft. Through her paintings, sculptures and public garden projects, Amer takes traditional notions of cultural identity, abstraction, and religious fundamentalism and turns them on their heads.

She has also created a number of text-based works, most notably the installation piece Encyclopaedia of Pleasure, which comprises fifty-seven canvas boxes inscribed with embroidered texts serving as investigations of sexual and spiritual identity. While her works serve as commentary on the roles of women, they also offer a critique of painting itself, particularly in its largely masculine Abstract Expressionist mode. Her incorporation of thread into the parameters of the canvas legitimates a form of expression seen as particularly feminine.

Amer has shown her work all over the world, including the Istanbul, Johannesburg, Whitney, Gwangju, Sydney and Venice biennales; in major travelling shows such as The Short Century; Looking Both Ways: Art of the Contemporary African Diaspora; and Africa Remix. She has exhibited at P.S. 1 in New York and SITE Santa Fe, and in 2008 the Brooklyn Museum hosted Love Has no End, a retrospective of twenty years of Amer’s work.

Amer trained to be an artist at Villa Arson, Nice, France.

She currently lives and works in New York City.

Text courtesy Goodman Gallery.

Ghada Amer Featured Artworks

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The Heart by Ghada Amer contemporary artwork
Ghada AmerThe Heart, 2012Stainless steel
85.7 x 107.3 x 83.8 cm
Goodman Gallery Contact Gallery
ANOTHER BLACK PAINTING by Ghada Amer contemporary artwork
Ghada AmerANOTHER BLACK PAINTING, 2019Acrylic, embroidery and gel medium on canvas
149.9 x 182.9 cm
Goodman Gallery Contact Gallery
Spring Time in Jalisco by Ghada Amer contemporary artwork
Ghada AmerSpring Time in Jalisco, 2018Glazed ceramic
94 x 117 x 27 cm
KEWENIG Enquire
Chantal by Ghada Amer contemporary artwork
Ghada AmerChantal, 2018Glazed ceramic
90 x 125 x 26 cm
KEWENIG Enquire
The Hunter-RFGA by Ghada Amer contemporary artwork
Ghada AmerThe Hunter-RFGA, 2020Acrylic, embroidery, an gel medium on canvas
106.7 x 127 cm
Tina Kim Gallery Contact Gallery
Study for a Broken Box #1 by Ghada Amer contemporary artwork
Ghada AmerStudy for a Broken Box #1, 2017Acrylic and ink on cardboard
76.2 x 196.9 cm
Tina Kim Gallery Contact Gallery
BLUE BRA GIRLS by Ghada Amer contemporary artwork
Ghada AmerBLUE BRA GIRLS, 2012Cast, polished, stainless steel
185.4 x 152.4 x 137.2 cm
Cheim & Read Contact Gallery
Baisers 1 by Ghada Amer contemporary artwork
Ghada AmerBaisers 1, 2011/2012Black painted bronze
57.2 x 40.6 x 50.8 cm
Tina Kim Gallery Contact Gallery

Ghada Amer Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Did you ever think there would come a time? at Goodman Gallery, Sir Lowry Rd, Cape Town
Closed
19 December 2020–20 February 2021 Group Exhibition Did you ever think there would come a time? Goodman GallerySir Lowry Rd, Cape Town
Contemporary art exhibition, Ghada Amer, In Black and White at Goodman Gallery, London
Closed
2 December 2020–9 January 2021 Ghada Amer In Black and White Goodman GalleryLondon
Contemporary art exhibition, Ghada Amer, The women I know at KEWENIG, Berlin
Closed
21 November 2020–6 February 2021 Ghada Amer The women I know KEWENIGBerlin

Ghada Amer Represented By

Goodman Gallery contemporary art gallery in Johannesburg, South Africa Goodman Gallery Cape Town, East Hampton, Johannesburg, London
KEWENIG contemporary art gallery in Berlin, Germany KEWENIG Berlin, Palma

Ghada Amer In Ocula Magazine

DESERT X 2021 to Feature Judy Chicago and Felipe Baeza Ocula News DESERT X 2021 to Feature Judy Chicago and Felipe Baeza Palm Desert, CA, 17 February 2021

Now in its third instalment, DESERT X 2021 is among the first major art events to return to the region since California went into lockdown last year.

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Ghada Amer In Related Press

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How Egyptian artist Ghada Amer has weaved an expression of feminism into her paintings Related Press How Egyptian artist Ghada Amer has weaved an expression of feminism into her paintings 13 April 2021, The National News

In Ghada Amer's paintings, threads behave like coloured rivers, abstraction obscures figuration and unknown women proliferate.

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How Ghada Amer Uses Seduction to Expose Sexism Related Press How Ghada Amer Uses Seduction to Expose Sexism 10 May 2018, Hyperallergic

Ghada Amer, in her current exhibition at Cheim and Read, does something that formidable artists do: makes a proposal that is, in essence, unanswerable. In her 2016 painting Women in White, she combines outlines of women's bodies made in acrylic with embroidery that hangs over the figures to make them washy and vague. Only when I get closer to...

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'The last taboo is the penis': John Cheim on 'The Female Gaze, Part II: Women Looking at Men' at Cheim & Read Related Press 'The last taboo is the penis': John Cheim on 'The Female Gaze, Part II: Women Looking at Men' at Cheim & Read 10 August 2016, ARTNews

The Female Gaze, Part II: Women Looking at Men,  a group show that runs at Cheim & Read through September 2, is as ambitious in scope as it is in ideology, showcasing work by a wide range of artists–including Tracey Emin, Alice Neel, Diane Arbus, and Jenny Holzer–who have applied a nontraditional lens to viewing and depicting...

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African women first: 'Lucy’s Iris' at Musée Départmental d’Art Contemporain, Rochechouart Related Press African women first: 'Lucy’s Iris' at Musée Départmental d’Art Contemporain, Rochechouart 10 August 2016, Art Radar Journal

Though discovered in 1974, in the midst of African decolonial processes and independence struggles, the original ancestor of all humankind, an African woman was given the name Lucy. But what about her African roots? What about her role as the mother of all humankind? Lucy’s Iris  considers Lucy’s view of her prodigal daughters who...

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Ghada Amer In Video & Audio

For Mario Related Video & Audio For Mario 18 July 2019, Tina Kim Gallery

Curator Adam Charlap Hyman (of Charlap Hyman & Herrero) discusses the overarching theme of For Mario.

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