Sophia Al Maria
Sophia Al Maria is an artist, writer and filmmaker. She studied comparative literature at the American University in Cairo, and aural and visual cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London. For the past few years, she has been carrying out research around the concept of Gulf Futurism. Her primary interests are around the isolation of individuals via technology and reactionary Islam, the corrosive elements of consumerism and industry, and the erasure of history and the blinding approach of a future no one is ready for. She explores these ideas with certain guidebooks and ideas including, but not limited to, Zizek’s The Desert of the Unreal, As-Sufi’s Islamic Book of the Dead, as well as imagery from Islamic eschatology, post humanism and the global mythos of Science Fiction.
Her work has been exhibited in various institutional shows around the world, including Black Friday, Mercer Union, Images Festival, Toronto, Canada (2018); I Hear You Laughing, Kunsthall Stavanger, Stavanger, Norway (2017); Biennale of Moving Images, Miami, USA (2017); Axis Mundi, High Line Art, New York, USA (2017); No to the Invasion: Breakdowns and Side Effect, CCS Bard Gallery, NY, USA (2017); Mondialite, Villa Empain Boghossian Foundation, Brussels, Belgium (2017); The New Normal, Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art, Beijing China (2017); Seeds of Time, Shanghai Project, Shanghai, China (2017); Transmissions from the Etherspace, La Casa Encendida, Madrid, Spain (2017); Paratoxic Paradoxes, Benaki Museum, Athens, Greece (2017); Eternal Youth, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, USA (2017); Black Friday, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY, USA (2016); Repetition, Villa Empain, Boghossian Foundation, Brussels, Belgium (2016); Imitation of Life at HOME, Manchester (2016); In Search of Lost Time, The Brunei Gallery, London (2016); 89plus: Filter Bubble, LUMA Westbau, Zurich, Switzerland (2015); 2015 Triennial: Surround Audience, New Museum, New York, NY, USA (2015); Common Grounds, Villa Stuck, Munich, Germany (2015); Extinctions Marathon: Visions of the Future, Serpentine Gallery, London, UK (2014); Virgin with a memory, Cornerhouse, Manchester, UK (2014); Do It, Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester, UK (2013); The 9th Gwangju Biennale, South Korea (2012); For your Eyes Only, St. Paul Street Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand (2012); Dowse Museum, Wellington, New Zealand (2012); Genre Specific Xperience, New Museum, New York, NY, USA (2011); Bendari & the Bunduqia, Waqif Art Centre, Doha, Qatar (2007) and We Few: A Comic Palindrome, Townhouse Gallery, Cairo, Egypt (2005).
Her writing has appeared in Harper's Magazine, Five Dials, Triple Canopy, and Bidoun. In 2007, she published her first autobiographical novel, The Girl Who Fell to Earth (Harper Collins Perennial).She was invited to participate in the 2016 Biennial of Moving Images in Geneva, Switzerland. The artist has also participated in the Inhabitation residency at Villa Empain, Boghossian Foundation, Brussels (2016). She is also the recipient of the inaugural Dunya Contemporary Art Prize 2018, awarded by the Musuem of Contemporary Art, Chicago.
Sophia is the author of Virgin With A Memory and The Girl Who Fell To Earth and has also guest edited an issue of the experimental art-writing journal The Happy Hypocrite, entitled Fresh Hell.
The artist currently lives and works in London, UK.