Azza Zein is a visual artist and writer who lives and works in Narrm/Melbourne. Born to a Syrian mother and a Lebanese father, Zein grew up in Beirut, Lebanon. Her practice-led research examines concepts of value in art through the materiality of domestic space and personal experience as a migrant. Through a process of rematerialisation, conceptualised as care for ‘migrant materials’, her recent works comment on the dematerialisation of the economy and invisible labour. Her artistic research draws on her heritage and her background in economics to explore how artistic processes can be alternative modes of revaluation.
Zein holds a Master of Fine Arts from the Victorian College of Arts, the University of Melbourne (2020) and a PhD in economics from Texas A&M University (2005). She has exhibited in both solo and group exhibitions held in artist-run spaces in Australia. She has participated in diverse international art residencies around notions of the economy. In Argentina (Trans Acciones Utopicas) , India (ritualistic economy and labour), Mparntwe/Alice Springs (relations between body, labour and land) and remotely the Santa Fe Art Institute Labour residency. Zein was recently a finalist in the Incinerator Gallery Art for Social Change Award (2020), Australian Muslim Artist Award (2019) and the Athenaeum Club award (2020).
Zein won the Fiona Myer Art+Australia Internship award for 2020. She published her writing in Art + Australia, in Kohl, a Journal for Body and Gender Research, un Extended and recently Kings Artist-run Live from the field. She also performed in the CARE: transforming values through art, ethics and feminism, at George Paton Gallery in 2019. Her essay ‘The Migrant Material,” written in the voice of an industrial wooden pole comment on industrialisation as forms of de-rooting and compare notions of care, will be published in a book, Care
Ethics and Art Anthology edited by Dr Jacqueline Millner (Routledge).
She is a member of un Projects Board and the Women’s Art Register(WAR) committee.
Follow @3azzazein on instagram
2020 M.F.A., Victorian College of the Arts,University of Melbourne
2014 B.F.A. (First Class Honours) Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne
2012 B.F.A. Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne
2005 Ph.D. Economics, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas
1999 B.A. Economics, American University of Beirut
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Various Private Collections
2022 Lock Dispersal in Corner Solutions, forthcoming Solo exhibition (July-August) at
2021 Taskscape, Duke University Visualising Care Network, Women and Work Online
Exhibition, facilitated by Lauren Henschel (upcoming October)
Tashabok (postponed screening, at Bus Projects)
Meshwork, curated by Grace Pundyk, Salamanca Arts Center, Hobart, Tasmania,
2020 Southwest Contemporary, I’ve Never Seen The Sky Like This Before, curated by Bronia Iwańczak, Adelaide, South Australia
Incinerator Gallery Art Social Change Award Online Exhibition, curated by Jake Treacy
Kings Artist-Run, Live from the field curated by Katie Ryan and Jeremy Eaton.
Against Social Distancing Newsletter, Institute of Postcolonial Studies, Melbourne
FavourEconomy, Vol.5, 2020
Erasure, digital exhibition, curated by Nur Shkembi, in association with CoVA, (Centre of Visual Arts) at VCA.
Shepparton art festival, AMA exhibition, La Trobe Shepparton campus, curated by Dr.Jacqueline Millner.
2019 VCA grad show (MFA project), Martyn Myer Arena, Melbourne
Performance lecture ‘The Migrant Material’ as part of CARE: transforming values through art, ethics and feminism, George Paton Gallery, University of Melbourne
Australian Muslim Artist Award 2019 exhibition, Islamic Museum of Australia, Thornbury, Victoria
2018 Residual Lines, Seventh, Melbourne (solo)
Stoppage, Rubicon ARI, Melbourne (solo)
2017 ‘9×5 NOW’, curated by Elizabeth Gower, Margaret Lawrence Gallery, Melbourne
2016 Sea of corners, Blindside, Melbourne (solo) SOAP at Kings, KINGS ARI, Melbourne.
2015 Archiving and Fragmentation in the Digital Age, SOAP Collective, Fort Delta, Melbourne
2014 Digital Fever, c3 Contemporary Artspace, Melbourne (solo)
George Paton Gallery: Artist’s Books (reprised) Coordinated by Sandie Bridie, Craig Burgess and Alice Mathieu
2013 A map to disappear, Seventh Gallery, Melbourne (solo)
Corners of Shutters: Compilation, compiled by Kathrin Wolkowicz, SUB, Rotterdam
2012 iProtest, George Paton Gallery, Melbourne (solo)
Mary and Lou Senini Student Art Award Exhibition, McClelland Sculpture Park
Wallara Travelling Scholarship Exhibition, Margaret Lawrence Gallery, Melbourne
Gertrude Street Projection Festival, Melbourne,
International Art Residencies
2022 Santa Fe Art Institute, 2020 Labor Residency, Santa Fe, New Mexico, (forthcoming)
2021 Watch This Space, https://www.wts.org.au/, Mparntwe / Alice Springs
2020 Artist For Artist Masterclass, The Institutional Collapse, (online)
Santa Fe Art Institute, 2020 Labor Residency, Santa Fe, New Mexico (participated remotely July 2020)
2018 Residency at Kriti Gallery, Varanasi, India
2016 Trans Acciones Utopicas, Centro Rural De Arte, Cazon Argentina
2020 Finalist, Incinerator Gallery Art Social Change Award Online Exhibition
Shortlisted for the Athenaeum Club Award 2019
2019 Fiona Myer Art & Australia Internship Award (2020)
Shortlisted for the AMA award at the Islamic Museum of Australia
2012 National Gallery of Victoria Trustees Award
Finalist, Mary and Lou Senini Student Art Award
Finalist, Wallara Traveling Scholarship
Art Grant, University of Melbourne Student Union
2021 Panel discussion on creative activism, organised by Dr. Andrew Goodman at La Trobe University with Jude Anderson and Linto Thomas, Nicole Skeltys, Clare O’Hanlon (online)
2020 Artists’ talk, Governance, Incinerator Gallery Art for Social Change Award Exhibition (online)
2019 Presenting paper on Rematerialization in a panel on Practicing Dissent through Art, Activism, and Urbanism, Kohl Journal, Alternative Economies Conference, Beirut.
2016 Panel discussion around Iconoclasm: Fever and Anxiety with Dr Antonio Gonzalez Zarandona and Martina Copley, Blindside Gallery.
Discussion coordinator with Xanthe Waite after a Talk by Associate Professor Paul Raschky on Economic development and satellite images, SOAP at KINGS, KINGS ARI.
2015 Panel discussion on Flatness and Hybridity, SOAP at Fort Delta