Azza Zein

PhD Economics
MFA Fine Arts  


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I acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on which I work, and live, the Boonwurung, and Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation. I pay my respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging.






Azza Zein is an interdisciplinary artist and writer. Her art installations employ painting, sculptural forms, and video works, often positioned in unconventional displays within the expanded field of painting. Her research centres around demarcating and materialising the fluid relation between body/object-land-labor, drawing on a variety of methodologies from ficto-critical writing, socially engaged events, and archival methods. She is interested in a revaluation of the decorative act and migrant materials from a perspective that relates modernity’s iconoclastic aesthetics with the violence of displacement.

Born to a Syrian mother and a Lebanese father, Zein grew up in Beirut and is currently based in Narrm/Melbourne.  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 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, was published in a book, Care Ethics and Art Anthology edited by Jacqueline Millner and Gretchen Coombs (Routledge).

She is a member of un Projects editorial committee (2021-2024). She was a member of the Women’s Art Register(WAR) committee and un Projects board member (treasurer, 2020-2021)

Since 2022 she has taught studio art classes and art theory classes in three different universities. (American University of Beirut, La Trobe University, Victorian College of the Arts at the University of Melbourne) 



EXHIBITIONS 

2023 

Tashabok, on going project, Collaborative drawing events, (in collaboration with Samm Sutton, and Claudia Phares funded by 2022/23 Small Project Yarra Grants Program)

2022

Parallax, Group exhibition for SART Artists/Teachers, American University of Beirut, Saleeby Museum curated by Prof. Walid Sadek and Dr. Octavian Esanu

The way we talk (about it), Group exhibition, Brunswick Temporary, curated by Karleng Lim

Lock Dispersal in Corner Solutions, Incinerator Gallery (solo)

2021

Taskscape, in Visualising Care Network, Women and Work exhibition (online at Duke University) facilitated by Lauren Henschel

Currents have their velocity; Skins have their texture, Salamanca Arts Center, Meshwork, curated by Grace Pundyk, Hobart, Tasmania

2020

With-Draw, 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

Fractured Hairline, in Against Social Distancing Newsletter, Institute of Postcolonial Studies, Melbourne

FavourEconomy, Vol.5, 2020, curated by Claire Field 

Erasure, digital exhibition, curated by Nur Shkembi, in association with CoVA, (Centre of Visual Arts) at VCA.

Shepparton art festival, AMA exhibition, La Trobe University 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


Residual Lines, Seventh Gallery. (solo)


Stoppage, Rubicon ARI. (solo)


9x5 NOW’, curated by Elizabeth Gower, Margaret Lawrence Gallery.


2016 

Sea of corners, Blindside. (solo)

SOAP at Kings, KINGS ARI.

2015

Archiving and Fragmentation in the Digital Age, SOAP Collective, Fort Delta.

2014

Digital Fever, c3 Contemporary Artspace. (solo)

2013

A map to disappear, Seventh Gallery. (solo)

Corners of Shutters: Compilation, compiled by Kathrin Wolkowicz, SUB, Rotterdam, Netherlands

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



Santa Fe Art Institute,
Labor Residency, Santa Fe, New Mexico

2021 

Watch This Space, https://www.wts.org.au/, Mparntwe / Alice Springs

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 


Trans Acciones Utopicas, Centro Rural De Arte, Cazon Argentina


AWARDS AND NOMINATIONS


Finalist, Incinerator Gallery Art Social Change Award Online Exhibition

Shortlisted for the Athenaeum Club Award 2019



Fiona Myer Art & Australia Internship Award (2020)

Shortlisted for the AMA award at the Islamic Museum of Australia

 
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




INVITED TALKS AND PANEL PARTICIPATION  


2023 

Panel coordinator, Language Ecologies, un Projects, ACCA, Melbourne.

Lecture for MFA students on Art preoccupied with economies and borders invited by Dr Sofi Basseghi at RMIT University 

Entanglement: Art and Activism, lecture and workshop, Australian Palestinian Solidarity Conference 

2022

Lecture for MCA students on Migrant Materials, Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne (invited by Dr. Tessa Laird)

Artist talk, Incinerator Gallery with Dr. Lina Koleilat on contemporary work precarity and art. 

2021

Artist talk, La Trobe Art University, Visual Arts forum 

Artist talk,  American University of Beirut, Studio Arts Lecture Series

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

Panel discussion on Government, Incinerator Gallery Art for Social Change Award Exhibition (online)

Artist talk with Dr. Jacqueline Millner, AMA exhibition, La Trobe University Shepparton 

Artists and curator's talk, Assembly Point: Erasure, curated by Nur Shkembi, Centre of Visual Art University of Melbourne, University of Melbourne
2019 

Performance lecture ‘The Migrant Material’ as part of CARE: transforming values through art, ethics and feminism, Symposium, George Paton Gallery, University of Melbourne

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 Dr. Paul Raschky on economic development and satellite images, SOAP at KINGS, KINGS Artist-run.

2015 

Panel discussion on Flatness and Hybridity, SOAP at Fort Delta