Ghada Amer Biography

Ghada Amer (b. 1963, Cairo) is best known for her subversive embroidered paintings that appropriate imagery from pornographic magazines as a means of creating an entirely feminine and feminist language of painting. She studied at the Villa Arson in Nice, where she was told that certain painting classes were reserved exclusively for male students. This served as the pivotal moment for Amer's practice, at which point she began to create her own unique space within the medium of painting. Her consistent use of embroidery in her paintings, a skill traditionally associated with femininity or 'women's work,' in conjunction with the erotic imagery of women in positions of sexual pleasure realigns our notions of objectification.

Read More

Historically the female nude as rendered by the male artist reduced the painting's subject to mere physical body deprived of agency. The embroidery imbues each image with a tenderness that bypasses this reduction. 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. The women in Amer's paintings are neither objects nor victims, but rather autonomous subjects with inalienable identities.

Even outside of her painting practice, such as with her garden installations, ceramics, and sculptures, Amer continues to consider notions of femininity and love. She links each of these media to the act of painting. 'All my work is about painting and [the] history of painting,' says Amer. Her sculptures and gardens frequently incorporate language, as with Women's Qualities, which was staged first during the Busan Biennale in 2000 and again in 2020 for Frieze Sculpture at Rockefeller Center. Both times, Amer asked passersby what qualities they would attribute to women. She then took the most common responses and spelled them out in flower beds. The words ranged from 'docile' and 'virgin' in the earlier iteration and expanded to 'kind,' 'resilient,' and 'independent' for the later installation. The evolution of the project reveals changing notions of feminine identity, from an expectation of subservience into an equally impossible and unrealistic view of woman as a modern goddess.

Recently, Amer began exploring ceramics in a two-year residency at the Greenwich House Pottery Studio. They show her interest in circumventing the boundaries of media, as the ceramics function as 'paintings' that exist within the space itself. This notion extends even into early studies for ceramics done on cardboard, as the works can be appreciated from all angles. She found the studies so compelling that she kept them as unique artworks themselves, which places her squarely within the ages-long tradition of viewers treasuring the earliest manifestation of an artist's idea for a work, as they worked through the inspiration.

Amer's works have been exhibited at a wide variety of institutions including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Whitney Biennial, the Venice Biennale, the Brooklyn Museum, the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in Washington, D.C., the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, the Garage Center for Contemporary Culture in Moscow, among others. Her works can be found in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Brooklyn Museum, the Centre Georges Pompidou, the Museo Jumex in Mexico City, the Crystal Bridges Museum of Art in Arkansas, the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, the Museum of Arts and Design in New York, and the Leeum, Samsung Museum in Seoul, among others.

Text courtesy Tina Kim Gallery.

Ghada Amer
featured artworks

View 34 More
ONE IS NOT BORN by Ghada Amer contemporary artwork textile
Ghada Amer ONE IS NOT BORN, 2023 Cotton appliqué on canvas
200.05 x 203 cm
Goodman Gallery Request Price & Availability
A Woman's Voice (in Blue) — A Woman's Voice is Revolution by Ghada Amer contemporary artwork painting, textile
Ghada Amer A Woman's Voice (in Blue) — A Woman's Voice is Revolution, 2023 Cotton appliqué on canvas
85.1 x 85.1 cm
Tina Kim Gallery Request Price & Availability
MY BODY IS MINE by Ghada Amer contemporary artwork painting, textile
Ghada Amer MY BODY IS MINE, 2023 Cotton Appliqué on canvas
74.2 x 72.4 cm
Goodman Gallery Request Price & Availability
REVOLT by Ghada Amer contemporary artwork painting, textile
Ghada Amer REVOLT, 2023 Cotton Appliqué on canvas
88.4 x 91.7 cm
Goodman Gallery Request Price & Availability
Study for Sculpture 2 by Ghada Amer contemporary artwork painting
Ghada Amer Study for Sculpture 2, 2021 Acrylic and ink on cardboard
184.5 x 249.1 cm
Tina Kim Gallery Request Price & Availability
The Red Portrait (bronze) by Ghada Amer contemporary artwork painting, sculpture, photography
Ghada Amer The Red Portrait (bronze), 2021 Waterborne paint on lost wax cast bronze (black and white)
95.6 x 59.7 x 24.8 cm
Tina Kim Gallery Request Price & Availability
A LOST CHECKERED DYPTIC by Ghada Amer contemporary artwork sculpture
Ghada Amer A LOST CHECKERED DYPTIC, 2023 Embroidery and gel medium on canvas
114.3 x 91.4 cm
Goodman Gallery Request Price & Availability
Portrait of Charlotte by Ghada Amer contemporary artwork painting, works on paper, sculpture
Ghada Amer Portrait of Charlotte, 2020 Acrylic, embroidery and gel medium on canvas
114.3 x 114.3 cm
Goodman Gallery Request Price & Availability
View 34 More

Ghada Amer
recent exhibitions

View 8 More
View 8 More

Represented by these
Ocula Member Galleries

Goodman Gallery contemporary art gallery in Johannesburg, South Africa
Goodman Gallery London, Johannesburg, Cape Town, East Hampton
View 8 More

Ghada Amer in
Ocula Magazine

Learn more about the market for works
by Ghada Amer.
Enquire for a confidential discussion. Enquire Now
Simon Fisher, Ocula CEO
Ocula Advisor
Simon Fisher
Christoper Taylor, Ocula Advisor
Ocula Advisor
Christopher Taylor
Eva Fuchs, Ocula Advisor
Ocula Advisor
Eva Fuchs
Rory Mitchell, Ocula Advisor
Ocula Advisor
Rory Mitchell

Ghada Amer in
video & audio

Ocula discover the best in contemporary art icon.
Follow Ghada Amer
Stay ahead.
Receive updates on new artworks,
exhibitions and articles.
Your personal data is held in accordance with our privacy policy.
Follow
Do you have an Ocula account?
Ocula discover the best in contemporary art icon.
Get Access
Join Ocula to request price and availability of artworks, exhibition price lists and build a collection of favourite artists, galleries and artworks.
Do you have an Ocula account? Login
What best describes your interest in art?

Subscribe to our newsletter for upcoming exhibitions, available works, events and more.
By clicking Sign Up or Continue with Facebook or Google, you agree to Ocula's Terms & Conditions. Your personal data is held in accordance with our Privacy Policy.
Thank you for joining us. Just one more thing...
Soon you will receive an email asking you to complete registration. If you do not receive it then you can check and edit the email address you entered.
Close
Thank you for joining us.
You can now request price and availability of artworks, exhibition price lists and build a collection of favourite artists, galleries and artworks.
Close
Welcome back to Ocula
Enter your email address and password below to login.
Reset Password
Enter your email address to receive a password reset link.
Reset Link Sent
We have sent you an email containing a link to reset your password. Simply click the link and enter your new password to complete this process.
Login