Born in Lebanon, in 1974, Zena Assi lives and works between Beirut and London.
She graduated with honors from l’Academie Libanaise des Beaux Arts (ALBA), worked in advertising and taught in different universities.
Her contemporary work draws inspiration from the relations and conflicts between the individual and his spatial environment, society and its surroundings.
The artist uses various supports and mediums to document and explore the cultural and social changes and put on record our urban contemporary environment’s imprint as well as the impact of our society’s ideologies and political tendencies. Her work takes shape in installation, drawing, etching, experimental animation, sculpture and mainly painting. Themes that are central to her vision include present-day issues, like migration and the relation between memories and people on the move.
Many of her pieces are repeatedly shown in different international auction houses (Christie’s, Sotheby’s, Bonhams and Millon) and are part of various public as well as private collections (Academie Libanaise des beaux Arts in Beirut, Barjeel Art Foundation in Sharjah and Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris).
Throughout her artistic practice, her work has won prizes including the Sunny Dupree Family Award for a woman Artist at the 2020 Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy, London, 2020 – the Rosemary & Co Award at the SWA show, London, 2018 and the Special Jury Prize of the XXIX of the Autumn Salon of the Sursock Museum, Beirut, 2009.
Assi has exhibited in solo as well as collective shows across Europe, the Middle East and the United States of America including- Alwane gallery (Beirut Lebanon), Subtitled Apeal Royal College of Art (London UK), Artsawa gallery (Dubai UAE), Zoom Art Fair (Miami USA), Espace Claude Lemand (Paris France), Cairo Biennale (Cairo Egypt), Katzen Arts Center of American University (Washington D.C. USA), Rebirth Beirut Exhibition Center (Beirut Lebanon), Albareh gallery (Manama-Kingdom of Bahrein), CAP Contemporary Art Platform Gallery Space (Kuwait), Art13 & Art14 London Fair (London UK), Art Paris (Paris France), IWM Imperial War Museum (London UK), IMA Institut du Monde Arabe (Paris France), Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy (London UK) and the 57th Venice Art Biennale (Venice Italy).
©portrait by Camille Zakharia