Born in Lebanon, in 1974, Zena Assi lives and works between Beirut and London.
She graduated with honors from l’Academie Libanaise des Beaux Arts (ALBA), worked in advertising and taught in different universities.
Her contemporary work on canvas draws inspiration from the relations and conflicts between the individual and his spatial environment, society and its surroundings. Her pieces are punctuated by strong visual references to her native Beirut and the predicament of its citizens.
The artist uses various supports and mediums to document and explore the cultural and social changes of her country. Her work takes shape in installation, animation, sculpture, and mainly paintings on canvas and replicates the tumult, angst and cacophony that everyday life in the city is fraught with. Assi’s use of pallid colors, jagged angular outlines and intricate layering, imbues inanimate objects, landscapes, and buildings with the emotional burdens of their inhabitants.
Themes that are central to her vision include present-day issues related to countries in the Middle East as they battle with internal strife and civilian unrest.
Many of her pieces were repeatedly shown in different international auction houses (Christie’s Dubai, Sotheby’s London, and Bonhams London) and are part of various public as well as private collections.
Assi has exhibited in solo as well as collective shows across Europe, the Middle East and the United States of America including- Alwane gallery (Beirut Lebanon), Subtitled Apeal Royal College of Art (London UK), Artsawa gallery (Dubai UAE), Zoom Art Fair (Miami USA), Shubbak (London UK), Beirut Art Fair Biel (Beirut Lebanon), Abu Dhabi art fair (Abu Dhabi UAE), Espace Claude Lemand (Paris France), Cairo Biennale (Cairo Egypt), Rebirth Beirut Exhibition Center (Beirut Lebanon), The Mall galleries (London, UK), Albareh gallery (Manama-Kingdom of Bahrein), CAP Contemporary Art Platform Gallery Space (Kuwait), Art13 & Art14 London Fair (London UK), Overture Show of Contemporary Art (Miami USA), Journey through our heritage BEC Beirut Exhibition Center (Beirut Lebanon), London Art Biennale (London UK) and Venice Art Biennale (Venice Italy).
•2017 Put it in a tin & City Wall, Art Sawa, Dubai, UAE.
•2016 My City shore, Art Sawa, Dubai, UAE.
•2014 Framing My City, Alwane Gallery, Beirut, Lebanon.
•2013 Bug Soldiers, Art Sawa, Dubai, UAE.
•2012 Still Nature, Art Sawa, Dubai, UAE.
•2011 Omissions selectives, Alwane Gallery,Beirut , Lebanon.
•2010 Cityphilia, Albareh Gallery, Manama, Bahrain.
•2010 Mass Movement, Art Sawa, Dubai, UAE.
•2009 Public Space, Art Sawa, Dubai, UAE.
•2009 Un peu de Beyrouth, Alwane Gallery, Beirut, Lebanon.
•2008 Cite et citadins, Alwane Gallery, Beirut, Lebanon.
•2017 The Venice Art Biennale, Grenada Pavilion, Venice, Italy.
•2017 I AM, National Gallery of Fine Arts, Amman, Jordan
•2017 The Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize, Guildford House Gallery, Guildford, Surrey, UK.
•2017 The London Art Biennale, Chelsea Old Town, London, UK.
•2017 The Lynn Painter-Stainters Prize, London, UK.
•2017 The Pastel Society's 118th Annual Exhibition, Mall Galleries, London, UK.
•2016 The Thames, the artery of London, London, UK.
•2016 Portrait in April, Saatchi Gallery On Screen, London, UK.
•2015 Start Auction, Paddle 8.
•2014 Art14 London Fair, Olympia, Kensington, London, UK.
•2013 Abu Dhabi Art Fair, Saadiyat Cultural District, Abu Dhabi, UAE.
•2013 Syri-Arts Auction, Beirut Exhibition Center, Beirut, Lebanon.
•2013 Art13 London Fair, Olympia, Kensington, London, UK.
•2013 Pullman Art Night, Dubai, UAE.
•2013 ArtNight special Edition- DIFC, Art Sawa, Dubai, UAE.
•2013 Journey through our heritage, Beirut Exhibition Center, Beirut, Lebanon.
•2013 Atfal Souriyah, Mark Hachem, Beirut, Lebanon.
•2012 OverTure, Miami Art fair, Miami, USA.
•2012 Dress Code Project, Contemporary Art Platform “CAP” Kuwait.
•2012 The Lebanese Creations 1959, 2012, Espace Claude Lemand, Paris, France.
•2012 XXXI salon d’Automne Musée Sursock , Beirut, Lebanon.
•2011 Subtitled, Royal College of Art, London, UK.
•2011 Acquired by the Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah, UAE.
•2011 XXX Salon d’Automne Musée Sursock - Beirut – Lebanon.
•2011 Shubbak , London, UK.
•2011 Menasart Fair, Beirut, Lebanon.
•2011 Abu Dhabi Art Fair, Abu Dhabi, UAE.
•2011 Rebirth, Beirut Exhibition Center, Beirut, Lebanon.
•2010 XXII Biennale of Cairo, Cairo, Egypt.
•2010 Zoom, Miami, USA.
•2010 Contemparabia, Dome, Beirut, Lebanon.
•2009 Prize: BMW, mini cooper’s 50th anniversary, ‘best design for the Middle East’
•2009 Abu Dhabi Art Fair, Abu Dhabi, UAE.
•2009 Prize: mention spéciale du jury XXIX salon d’automne Musée Sursock, Beirut, Lebanon.
•2008 Regards d’artistes II, Alwane Gallery, Beirut, Lebanon.
•2008 Creative Expressions, Art Sawa, Dubai, UAE.
•2008 Art Paris Abu Dhabi art fair, Abu Dhabi, UAE.
•2008 Opening, Art Sawa, Dubai , UAE.
•2008 XXVIII Salon d'Automne, Musée Sursock, Lebanon.
•2006 Collective Exhibition, Alwane Gallery , Beirut, Lebanon.
•2006 XXVII Salon d'Automne, Musée Sursock, Lebanon.
•2005 XXVI Salon d'Automne, Musée Sursock , Lebanon.
ONGOING and UPCOMING EVENTS:
• 57th Venice Biennale, 13th of May till the 26th of November 2017, Venice, Italy.
• 'Put it in a tin & City Wall', 23rd of May till 23 of July, 2017, Art Sawa, Dubai, UAE.
• Collective, 20th of April till 20th of August 2017, The Mall Galleries, London, UK.
• 'I AM' Collective Show, 3rd of July till 20th of August, Martin in the Fields, Trafalgar Square, London, UK.
5TH of September till 22nd of October, Katzen Arts Center of American University, Washington, D.C., USA.
• Solo Show - 1st of April 2018 till 1st of May 2019, ALWANE Gallery, Saifi Village, Beirut, Lebanon.