ENCOUNTERS // Sueraya Shaheen
Sueraya Shaheen was born in Beirut and is currently based in New York City and Dubai. She studied Art and Design in Corcoran College, Washington, where she learnt to use photography as an expressive medium. For two decades, she has worked with photojournalism as well as digital fine-art photography, the latter which has led her to become one of the most renowned portrait photographers of recent times.
This exhibition is made of fifteen portraits Shaheen took where avant-garde and cosmopolitan Middle-Eastern artists are the subjects. She focused on permeating the disturbing aspects of each of their worlds, comprising war symbols and destructive realities. The photographs give us an entryway to understand the vocabulary of their regions, energies, concepts, traditions and contexts. In these images we find a crushing binomial of political-poetic accent.
Among the artists portrayed by Shaheen under the intimate vault of her workshop are Hassan Hajjaj, El Seed, Hayv Kahraman, Bita Fayyazi and Ayman Baalbaki. Her portraits lead the viewer to decipher symbols of a millenary, tribal and Bedouin tradition that seek to position themselves in the global stage of contemporary art.
Shaheen has had solo exhibitions in the Barbara Davis Gallery in Houston, Texas; La Fontaine Centro Contemporáneo in Manama, Bahrain; Govinda Gallery in Washington; the Kennedy Center; Salsali Private Museum in Dubai; and Sloan Fine Arts in New York City, among others.