A staunch supporter of women’s self-determination, Amer has tirelessly challenged moralistic attitudes that seek to suppress bodily autonomy since the early 1980s. The artist sees taboos against abortion and pornography—or the religious veil—as cut from the same cloth. These prohibitions suggest that women are not free to control their own bodies. Her resulting oeuvre has continuously championed that fundamental right. Early in her career, Amer began melding embroidery with painting to unite fine art and a craft associated with female makers. In the early 1990s, she incorporated stitched and drawn imagery of women from pornographic magazines and Disney cartoons into these mixed-media creations. Simultaneously, Amer created installations with text, fabric, and other materials that confronted stereotypes about sexism and terrorism. Since the 2010s, Amer has added sculpture to her growing list of mediums. And, most recently, she has made portrait-style paintings in thread and acrylic, layering illustrations of women’s faces with quotes and slogans about women’s empowerment (or men’s fears about their growing power.)
[text by Wendy Vogel, excerpted from Tina Kim Gallery website: www.tinakimagllery.com]
Born in Cairo, Amer studied at the Villa Arson in Nice. This year, her retrospective opened across three venues in Marseille, France: the Mucem (Fort Saint-Jean), the Fonds Régional d’Art Contemporain (FRAC), Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, and the chapel of the Centre de la Vieille Charité. Her work has been included in numerous solo and group exhibitions including I Am: Contemporary African Woman Artists, 2020, at the National Museum of African Art-Smithsonian Institution, and her 2018 exhibition at the Dallas Contemporary, Ceramics, Knots, Thoughts, Scraps. Her work can be found in private and public collections including Arab Museum of Modern Art (MATHAF), Qatar; Art Institute of Chicago; Brooklyn Museum; Georges Pompidou, Paris; Museo Jumex, Mexico City; Guggenheim Museum, Abu Dhabi; Samsung Museum, Seoul; and Speed Art Museum, Louisville.