Samira Abbassy: Hybrid Iconography

A person sitting in a chair

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Studio Portrait, 2016 at EFA Studios

Samira Abbassy’s paintings and drawings portray mysterious iconic figures, primarily female, who inhabit an ambiguous space. While her pictorial world resonates with archetypal imagery from eastern and western cultures, it equally pulsates with an urgent psychological core, creating an invigorating tension which prompts the viewer to search and discover rich layers for meaning.

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The Immigrant Artist Biennial: Abena Motaboli


Abena Motaboli, The Pieces that hang far up above – in you, in me, in I, in We, in Us, 2019 Plastic Tarp. Dimensions variable approximate 12ft x 12ft x 12ft. Photo courtesy the artist

The Immigrant Artist Biennial (TIAB) is a volunteer, female-led, artist-run project. TIAB 2020 launched in March in New York City at Brooklyn Museum, and continued in September through December at EFA Project Space, Greenwood Cemetery, and virtually, presenting 60+ artists. This interview series features 10 participating artists.

Abena Motaboli is a Southern African born educator, visual artist, and writer based in Chicago. She grew up in Lesotho, a landlocked country in Southern Africa, before moving to the U.S where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts at Columbia College Chicago and at L’Institut Catholique de Paris in Paris, France. With a strong commitment to social justice work in the South and West sides of Chicago and being an immigrant, her artwork comments on displacement, immigration, the African diaspora, and the loss of the sense of home. In her intricate plastic installations and meditative line-work in her paintings, she uses ephemeral material such as plastic, tea, dirt, and coffee to comment on colonialism, past memories, and the culture of creating.

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The Immigrant Artist Biennial: Matilda Forsberg

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Matilda Forsberg, Feeding rite, 2019, acrylic on canvas, 48” x 36”

The Immigrant Artist Biennial (TIAB) is a volunteer, female-led, artist-run project. TIAB 2020 launched in March in New York City at Brooklyn Museum, and continued in September through December at EFA Project Space, Greenwood Cemetery, and virtually, presenting 60+ artists. This interview series features 10 participating artists.

Matilda Forsberg’s paintings explore heritage, identity, and the duality between the past and present. Her practice is inspired by the complexities of family and cultural tradition, and its emotional and psychological influence on individuals as independent beings. Originally from Sweden, Matilda Forsberg is based in Newark, NJ where she is currently a resident artist at Gallery Aferro. Her work has been exhibited across the country in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, and Portland (OR). She received her BFA in Painting from Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Oregon.

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Padma Rajendran – On Cultural Tenderness


Padma Rajendran, Along the way, 2019, Dye on silk with stitching, dimensions varied, photo courtesy of the artist

Malaysian born and New York based artist Padma Rajendran works in diverse media yet currently views paper and fabric as her primary materials. She highlights the portable nature of paper and fabric, along with their significance as “keepers of culture, comfort, and call upon the function of the decorative”. Padma Rajendran shares here some insight on her work, what brought her there and where she is heading from here.

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Studio Immersion Project Annual Exhibitions

Installation view, (Christina Massey), courtesy of efa Project Space Program

Studio Immersion Project (SIP) is an intensive 3 month studio fellowship designed to immerse artists in the world of printmaking. Throughout the fellowship period SIP Fellows build upon existing skills and acquire new techniques. Through a selective application process the SIP invites artists from all media who are interested in exploring printmaking as an integral part of their art making.  Continue reading “Studio Immersion Project Annual Exhibitions”