Based in Tucson, Sama Alshaibi is the recipient of the 2021 Arlene and Morton Scult Artist Award. Her solo exhibition at Phoenix Art Museum showcases her latest projects of photographic imagery, video, and installation, which link themes of dispossession, mobility, peripheries, refuge, ecological entropy, and future and historical imaginings.
Alshaibi’s practice interrogates the social codes found in images, texts, and artifacts to question the construction of history and its impact on a speculative future. Shaped by photography’s historic and outsized role in generating the gendered and flattened representations of Middle Eastern and North African people and their spaces, Alshaibi reframes this legacy by presenting the Arab female figure as a complex site that embodies the physical and psychic realms of the individual and community when resources, land, mobility, and political agency are compromised. She activates her own body as a mobile medium in consideration of those who are violated and uprooted into physical and psychological exile or positioned as unwanted, alien, silenced, and disappeared. Her sculptural objects and installations apply spatial voids to evoke the body’s absence, serving as counter-memorials to war, forced migrations, and diaspora.
The Arlene and Morton Scult Artist Award recognizes a mid-career Arizona artist. Each year, the recipient is chosen from a pool of candidates based on a number of criteria. Eligible candidates are artists who demonstrate artistic excellence through their work; are presently making and exhibiting new work; have demonstrated significant growth in their work over their careers; and have been residents of Arizona for a minimum of four consecutive years. The recipient is then selected based on the work they are currently producing, in addition to pieces they have created in the past. The award includes a monetary prize to support the creation of new work, as well as a solo exhibition at the Museum the following year.
Originally from Guanajuato, Mexico, and now based in Phoenix, Gloria Martinez-Granados migrated at a young age with her family to the United States. Her prints and other works serve as a memoir, reflecting on her experience growing up and living as an undocumented immigrant through digitally manipulated personal documents and photos.
Gloria Martinez-Granados, The Uncertainty of Higher Education, 2022. Lithography. Courtesy of the artist. Installation view, 2021 Lehmann Emerging Artist Awards Exhibition, 2022, Phoenix Art Museum.
Chris Vena’s recent work examines the loneliness and unease of life during the COVID-19 pandemic. With a particular focus on reconciling with the recent death of his pets, with whom he isolated throughout most of 2020, his paintings explore themes of loss, isolation, financial insecurity, and mass death.
Chris Vena, Self Portrait by Binge Light, 2020. Oil on canvas. Courtesy of the artist.
Merryn Omotayo Alaka and Sam Frésquez, who are presenting work jointly, work across media to facilitate conversations around race, gender, and queerness. In their collaborative practice and craft-based processes, they work with pop-culture iconography, contemporary trends, and historical references, tracing the evolution of material culture, including hair, jewelry, and textiles. Their work also examines pre-existing societal hierarchies and racialized and gendered stereotypes to question why their communities have been either undervalued or tokenized in the United States.
Sam Frésquez.and Merryn Omotayo Alaka, Kanekalon Forest, 2022. Kanekalon hair and clamps, steel, wire. Courtesy of the artists and Lisa Sette Gallery. Installation view, 2021 Lehmann Emerging Artist Awards Exhibition, 2022, Phoenix Art Museum.
The Sally and Richard Lehmann Emerging Artist Awards (Lehmann Emerging Artist Awards) are presented annually by Phoenix Art Museum to provide recognition and financial support for emerging, professional, Arizona-based artists. Eligible candidates apply through an open call and must be considered emerging artists who are currently working and have resided in Arizona for a minimum of one year, among other requirements. Each recipient receives a grant to support the creation of new work and is invited to participate in a group exhibition at Phoenix Art Museum the year following the award.
Sama Alshaibi: Generation After Generation is organized by Phoenix Art Museum. It is made possible through the generosity of Arlene and Morton Scult Contemporary Artist Award Fund.
The 2021 Lehmann Emerging Award Recipients exhibition is organized by Phoenix Art Museum. It is made possible through the generosity of Sally and Richard Lehmann, with additional support from Cattryn Somers and Michael Cafiso.
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