ZENA ASSI

Born in Lebanon, in 1974, Zena Assi lives and works between Beirut and London.

Zena graduated with honors from l’Academie Libanaise des Beaux Arts (ALBA), worked in advertising and taught in different universities. Her contemporary work on canvas 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. Zena uses various supports and mediums to document and explore the cultural and social changes of her country. Her work takes shape in installation, animation, sculpture, and mainly paintings on canvas and replicates the tumult, angst and cacophony that everyday life in the city is fraught with. Zena’s use of pallid colors, jagged angular outlines and intricate layering, imbues inanimate objects, landscapes, and buildings with the emotional burdens of their inhabitants. 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. 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.

EXHIBITONS

SOLO EXHIBITIONS

  • 2017 “Put it in a Tin | My City-Wall”, ARTSAWA, Dubai, UAE
  • 2016 “My City Shore”, ARTSAWA, Dubai, UAE
  • 2014 “Framing My City”, Alwane Gallery, Beirut, Lebanon
  • 2013 “Bug Soldiers”, ARTSAWA, Dubai, UAE
  • 2012 “Still Nature”, ARTSAWA, Dubai, UAE
  • 2011 “Omissions Selectives”, Alwane Gallery, Beirut, Lebanon
  • 2010 “Cityphilia”, Albareh Gallery, Manama, Bahrain
  • 2010 “Mass Movement”, ARTSAWA, Dubai, UAE
  • 2009 “Public Space”, ARTSAWA, Dubai, UAE
  • 2009 “Un peu de Beyrouth”, Alwane Gallery, Beirut, Lebanon
  • 2008 “Cite et Citadins”, Alwane Gallery, Beirut, Lebanon

GROUP EXHIBITIONS

  • 2017 57th La Biennale di Venezia, Grenada Pavilion
  • 2017 The London Art Biennale, Chelsea Old Town, London, UK
  • 2017 The Lynn Painter-Stainters Prize, London, UK
  • 2017 The Pastel Society's 118th Annual Exhibition, Mall Galleries, London, UK
  • 2016 The Thames, the artery of London, London, UK
  • 2016 Portrait in April, Saatchi Gallery On Screen, London, UK
  • 2015 Start Auction, Paddle 8
  • 2014 Art14 London Fair, Olympia, Kensington, London, UK
  • 2013 Abu Dhabi Art Fair, Abu Dhabi, UAE
  • 2013 Syri-Arts Auction, Beirut Exhibition Center, Beirut, Lebanon
  • 2013 Art13 London Fair, Olympia, Kensington, London, UK
  • 2013 Pullman Art Night, Dubai, UAE
  • 2013 ArtNight special Edition- DIFC, ARTSAWA, Dubai, UAE
  • 2013 Journey through our heritage, Beirut Exhibition Center, Beirut, Lebanon
  • 2013 Atfal Souriyah, Mark Hachem, Beirut, Lebanon
  • 2012 OverTure, Miami Art fair, Miami, USA
  • 2012 Dress Code Project, Contemporary Art Platform “CAP” Kuwait
  • 2012 The Lebanese Creations 1959, 2012, Espace Claude Lemand, Paris, France
  • 2012 XXXI salon d’Automne Musée Sursock , Beirut, Lebanon
  • 2011 Subtitled, Royal College of Art, London, UK
  • 2011 Acquired by the Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah, UAE
  • 2011 XXX Salon d’Automne Musée Sursock - Beirut, Lebanon
  • 2011 Shubbak, London, UK
  • 2011 Menasart Fair, Beirut, Lebanon
  • 2011 Abu Dhabi Art Fair, Abu Dhabi, UAE
  • 2011 Rebirth, Beirut Exhibition Center, Beirut, Lebanon
  • 2010 XXII Biennale of Cairo, Cairo, Egypt
  • 2010 Zoom, Miami, USA
  • 2010 Contemparabia, Dome, Beirut, Lebanon
  • 2009 Prize: BMW, mini cooper’s 50th anniversary, ‘best design for the Middle East’
  • 2009 Abu Dhabi Art Fair, Abu Dhabi, UAE
  • 2009 Prize: mention spéciale du jury XXIX salon d’automne Musée Sursock, Beirut, Lebanon
  • 2008 Regards d’artistes II, Alwane Gallery, Beirut, Lebanon
  • 2008 Creative Expressions, Art Sawa, Dubai, UAE
  • 2008 Art Paris Abu Dhabi art fair, Abu Dhabi, UAE
  • 2008 Opening, ARTSAWA, Dubai , UAE
  • 2008 XXVIII Salon d'Automne, Musée Sursock, Lebanon
  • 2006 Collective Exhibition, Alwane Gallery , Beirut, Lebanon
  • 2006 XXVII Salon d'Automne, Musée Sursock, Lebanon
  • 2005 XXVI Salon d'Automne, Musée Sursock , Lebanon

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

  • Margaret, Obank, “Zena Assi: Cover Story”, Banipal Magazine, issue. 32, London, cover and first pages: (2008).
  • Al Ali, Nawal, “Cite et Citadins”, Min Wa Ila Magazine, Jerusalem, cover page and p1013: (August 2008).
  • Malhamé Harfouche, Nicole, “Cité et Citadins: Peintures Signée Zena Assi Farah”, La Revue du Liban , issue. 4165, Lebanon, p34: (5-12 July 2008).
  • Khalaf, Colette, “Dans le Mégalopolis de Zena Assi”, L’Orient le Jour, Lebanon, p6: (2 July 2008).