Samira Abbassy was born in Ahwaz, Iran & moved to London, UK as a child. After graduating from Canterbury College of Art, she began showing in London. She moved to New York in 1998, where she helped to set up the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts Studio Center, where she currently has a studio & is a board member. Her work is in private & public collections worldwide, including: the British Government Art Collection, The British Museum, the Burger Collection, the Donald Rubin collection (Rubin Museum, NY) & the Farjaam Collection, Dhubai. Her NY solo show in 2007 was reviewed by Benjamin Genocchio in the New York Times and by Ariella Budek in Newsday. Her awards & fellowships include: a Yaddo fellowship in 2006, a NYFA in 2007 & a Joan Mitchell award in 2010.
Canterbury College of Art: B.A. Honors, Fine Art/Painting, UK, 84-87
Jan 2011 Samira Abbassy Painting Statement As an immigrant in predominantly white Britain I was forced to ask “Who am I?” “Where am I from?” I felt burdened by needing to interpret the culture of my parents, with out wholly understanding it. My vocation became the knitting together of disparate languages, conventions and myths. I questioned many aspects of my dueling cultures; integration, belonging and bridging gaps. So I become a “Fictional Historian” as I reinterpreted stories about a homeland that I only knew as child. To paraphrase Salmon Rushdie, “ ...Creating imaginary homelands and the cultural ground beneath my feet.” It is as though I had to become the ambassador of my own “never- never land” from which I was exiled. The panel painting: "Exiled Garden" deals with the subject of migration, both immigration & emigration. It shows leaving the homeland, planting a life in a new place & growing a hybrid garden. The place of origin becomes the "never, never land" which is more imagined than actually remembered, as in: "Favorite of Ten Thousand to my Soul" which has a mythical, timeless quality and refers to ideas around ancient & modern theocracies. Over the years, I have excavate art that was considered outside the “Western Canon”: Indian, Persian, Tibetan, Hindu/ Muslim/Buddhist etc. Through fusing disparate mythologies and traditions, I came towards an iconography of hybridism and most importantly found their underlying common threads. The discovery of Pre Renaissance Art lead to a love of Religious Art of that period, from which I went onto discover the sacred art of all the major faiths and denominations. I found that Religious/Sacred imagery in general, (whether Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Buddhist etc) provides the visual clues, a way into this psychic/spiritual state. By its nature, the language of the sacred seemed to be more successful at conveying the metaphorical/metaphysical aspects of being human. The figure is more easily recognized as an archetype rather than an individual. The myths and stories presented are time & placeless, universal, psychic events rather than “real”.
Solo and group shows in New York have included the Skoto Gallery, Vernacular Press, Kim Foster, Kathleen Cullen and Leila Heller galleries, the Islip Museum, the Queens Museum, Dowling College and in Europe with England & Co. Gallery (London)