Through her playful photographs and graphic interventions, Arwa Abouon questions her own place within a so-called Western culture on the one hand and her upbringing in a Muslim household on the other. Arwa investigates mechanisms at play when learning and acquiring knowledge, and the different shapes that this knowledge takes on as it is transferred from one generation to another. Balancing playful humor, irreverent re-appropriation and respectful homage, Arwa’s work is always visually impactful and intricate in the subtleties within its voices. Working predominantly in photography, the artist spans a wide array of media, such as video, illustration, graphics on light boxes as well as the occasional site-specific installation.
Since earning a BFA in Design Art and Photography at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, Arwa has been featured in several group exhibitions across the world. Her recent solo exhibitions include Honolulu, Sultan Gallery, Kuwait (2015); and Learning by Heart, The Third Line, Dubai, UAE (2012).
She has taken part in numerous group exhibitions internationally including Islam, It’s Also Our History!, Musee de l’Europe, Brussels, Belgium (2017); Sanctuary, FOR SITE Foundation, Fort Mason Chapel, San Francisco, CA, USA (2017); Suspended Territories, Marta Herford Museum, Herford, Germany (2017); Presence: Reflections on the Middle East, Metropolitan State University of Denver, Center for Visual Art, CO, USA (2017); Islamic Arts Festival, Sharjah Art Museum, UAE (2014); A Libyan Lamma, Noon-Arts, Malta (2014); The Salon, The Third Line, Dubai, UAE (2013); Cross-border, ZKM Museum of Contemporary Art, Karlsruhe, Germany (2013); Twenty-five years of Arab Creativity, Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris, France (2012); and Reorientations II (Suwar): Pictorial Representations in the Arab World, Rose Issa Projects, London, UK (2012).
Her work is part of The Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris, and The Stanly Mills collections.
Arwa lives and works in Montreal, Canada.