Gazelle Samizay was born in Kabul, Afghanistan and now resides in Los Angeles. Her photographs and videos have been exhibited across the US and internationally, and most recently at the Craft and Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles; Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach; Whitechapel Gallery, London; and the Wing Luke Museum, Seattle. In addition to her studio practice, she has taught courses in Afghanistan, Jordan and the US, and her writing has been published in One Story, Thirty Stories: An Anthology of Contemporary Afghan American Literature. Samizay is a recipient of the Princess Grace Experimental Film Honoraria, the 1885 Graduate Fellowship in Arts and Humanities, and the Northern Trust Enrichment Award, among others. She received her Master's in Fine Arts in photography at the University of Arizona.
My video and photography work explores identity, the rights and self-expression of women, the regulation of their bodies, and relationships within Afghan-American culture. Weaving complexity into the often-reductive image of Afghanistan, I use my practice to bridge the worlds of Afghanistan and the US. My projects investigate memory and cultural silence around certain traditions through reconfiguring and challenging them in different contexts. Read expanded artist statement.
Born: Kabul, 1981
2010 MFA, Photography, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ.
2004 BA, Interdisciplinary Visual Arts and International Studies, University of Washington, Seattle, WA.
2nd place prize, Focus Iran 3, Farhang Foundation, Craft and Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles, CA.
Best Conceptual Expression Award, 108 | Contemporary, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
e4c video commission, 4Culture, Seattle, WA.
Stand Out Teaching Award, Art Institute of Pittsburgh-Online Division, Pittsburgh, PA.
Micro Grant, Arts Council of Long Beach, Long Beach, CA.
Princess Grace Professional Development Grant, Princess Grace Foundation-USA, New York, NY.
Society for Photographic Education Northwest Scholarship, Society for Photographic Education, Cleveland, OH.
Northern Trust Enrichment Award in Memory of Virginia Piper, Arizona Community Foundation, AZ.
1885 Graduate Fellowship in Arts and Humanities, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ.
College of Fine Arts Creative Achievement Award, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ.
2009 Princess Grace Film Honoraria, Princess Grace Foundation-USA, New York, NY.
Peter Triestman Creative Project Award, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ.
Best of Film, Foto.Synthesis Social Justice Film Showcase, Tucson, AZ.
Centennial Achievement Graduate Student Award, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ.
SELECT GROUP EXHIBITS, SCREENINGS (*SOLO SHOWS)
Exile: The Land of Non-Belonging, University of California/California Museum of Photography, Riverside, CA (forthcoming).
What Keeps You Up at Night? Centre College, Danville, KY (forthcoming).
Focus Iran 3: Contemporary Photography and Video, Craft and Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles; Viewpoint Gallery, University of California, Irvine (forthcoming)
Shadows, LoosenArt, Rome, Italy (forthcoming).
<Light Paradise>, Yangpyeong Art Museum, Yangpyeong, South Korea (forthcoming).
There is a Portal, The James Gallery, CUNY, New York, New York; Intercultural Journeys, Philadelphia, CA; Women Center Stage Festival, New York, NY.
Surrogate, Pieter Space, Los Angeles, CA.
paraspace, Echo Park Film Center, Los Angeles, CA.
Separation, Tin Flats, Los Angeles, CA.
Electron Salon, Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, Los Angeles, CA.
Accused of No Crime: Japanese Incarceration in America, ReflectSpace, Glendale, CA.
Addressing Power, CFA Downtown Studio, Albuquerque, NM.
What Keeps You Up at Night? The Arts at CIIS, California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, CA; Mendocino College Art Gallery, Ukiah, CA; Gallery 7, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI; University of New Mexico Honors College, Albuquerque, NM; Centre College, Danville, KY.
Storefront Media Gallery, 4Culture, Seattle, WA.
Timely Resonance/Dissonance, McNamara Gallery, University of Nevada-Reno, Reno, Nevada
*Upon My Daughter, Hangar Gallery, Santa Monica Art Studios, Santa Monica, CA.
Steeped: The Art of Tea, 108 Contemporary, Tulsa, OK.
Ornate/Activate, Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum, Milwaukee, WI.
Focus Iran 2: Contemporary Photography and Video, Craft and Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Viewpoint Gallery, University of California-Irvine.
Who Are You? Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach, CA.
Water, Water Everywhere: Paean to a Vanishing Resource, The Museum at Los Gatos, CA; Francis McCray Gallery of Contemporary Art, Western New Mexico University; Boedecker Theatre and Naropa University, Boulder, CO; Upez African Humanitarian Development Project, Lagos, Nigeria; Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena, CA; Peninsula College, Port Angeles, WA; El Paso Museum of Art, El Paso, TX; Univ. of Maine, Farmington, ME; Alexei von Schlippe Gallery, Univ. of Connecticut-Avery Point, Groton, CT; Huntington Museum of Art, Huntington, WV; Allegheny College, Meadville, PA; Hollins University, Roanoke, VA; October 2012-2016.
Stateland: American Artists’ Filmmaking Now, Whitechapel Gallery, London; Fabrica, Brighton, UK.
Realities and Concepts, Month of Photography LA Group Show, Lucie Foundation, Santa Monica Art Studios, Santa Monica, CA.
Belonging, Wing Luke Museum, Seattle, WA.
9th Seattle South Asian Film Festival, Seattle Asian Art Museum, Seattle, WA.
Islam Contemporary, Fayetteville State University, NC; Ellington White Contemporary, Fayetteville, NC.
e4c at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Seattle, WA.
Slamdance Film Festival, Park City, UT.
Same, same but different, The Natural History and Ethnography Museum, Freiburg, Germany.
Muslima: Muslim Women’s Art and Voices, International Museum of Women, San Francisco, CA.
Women’s Work: Culture and the Feminine, ArtXchange Gallery, Seattle, WA.
*im/pure, LawrieShabibi Gallery, Dubai, UAE.
Social Order: Women Photographers from Iran, India and Afghanistan, Photo Center NW, Seattle, WA.
Marrakech Art Fair, Palace Es Saadi, Marrakech, Morocco.
Heroes and Villains, Lawrie Shabibi Gallery, Dubai, U.A.E.
In These Rooms, Zayed University, Abu Dhabi, UAE.
METAMORPHOSIS (2-person exhibit w/ Sa'dia Rehman), The Guild Gallery, New York, NY.
*“This will be the last—.” Todd Walker Gallery, Tucson, AZ.
22nd Instants Vidéo. Marseilles, Martigues, Port-de-Bouc, Aix-en-Provence, France; Alexandria, Cairo, Egypt; Ramallah, Palestine; Damascus, Syria; Katowice, Bytom, Poland.
INVIDEO 2009, Milan, Italy.
Art Video Screening, Bio Roxy, Örebro, Sweden.
Videoholica International Video Art Festival, Varna, Bulgaria.
OK.Video-Jakarta International Video Festival, National Gallery of Indonesia, Jakarta, Indonesia.
7th KaraFilm Festival, Karachi, Pakistan.
*Stereotyping the Asian Feminine. Lionel Rombach Gallery, Tucson, AZ.
Videophile, Phoenix Video Festival, Brighton, UK.
Mosaic: Cultural Identity in America, Arizona State University Museum of Anthropology, Tempe, AZ.
After Tractatus: Art in Amazonia. Universidad Nacional, Bogotá, Colombia; Universidad de Iquitos, Iquitos, Peru; Universidad del Estado del Amazonas UEA, Manaus, Brazil; Biblioteca Publica del Banco de la Republica, Bogotá, Colombia.
The Culture of Independence. The Embassy of Afghanistan, Washington D.C.
*Afghanistan: Beyond the Burqa. 911 Media Arts Center, Seattle, WA.
*Identity: A journey through music, visuals, and dance. The War Room, Seattle, WA.
Vince Schleitwiler, “Video Links Muslim and Japanese American Histories at Manzanar,” International Examiner, April 2, 2018
Emily Pothast, Julia Raban and Joule Zelman, “The Best Art Shows in Seattle: Winter 2017/2018,” The Stranger, December 6, 2017.
Gazelle Samizay, “Institutional Critique,” VISIT Magazine, September 2016.
Rachel Zimmerman, “Identity Politics, “ VASA Journal of Images and Culture, February 2015.
Laura Stewart, “All Roads Lead to Brooklyn,” Art, Antiques, Design, September 28, 2014.
Leila Nadir and Zohra Saed, “Projects with Afghan-American Artists/Writers: Gazelle Samizay,” The Asian American Literary Review, September 2013.
Laura Stewart, “Artist Profile: Gazelle Samizay,” ArtBahrain.org, November 2012.
Staff Reporter, “Dubai. Galerie Lawrie Shabibi: Exposition solo de Gazelle Samizay,” Dubai Macadam, September 12, 2012.
Clinton Mclean, “Gazelle Samizay: Wedding Ambiguity,” La Lettre de la Photographie, June 2011.
Zohra Saed, “Gazelle Samizay: Claustrophobic Spaces, the Art of Tucking Away and Radical Self-Making,” Contemporary Practices, VIII (Spring 2011): 148.
Shirin Subhani, “In Dialog with Gazelle Samizay,” Courageous Creativity, (March 2011): 28.
Gazelle Samizay, “Gazelle Speaks,” One Story, Thirty Stories: An Anthology of Contemporary Afghan American Literature, Ed. by Zohra Saed and Sahar Muradi, University of Arkansas Press, 2010.
Meenakshi Thirukode, "Metamorphosis," Whitewall: Contemporary Art and Lifestyle Magazine, August 2010.
La Monica Everett-Haynes, "Dual Identity Manifest in Art," UANews, May 2010.
Uzma Rizvi, "Metamorphosis," www.theguildny.com, April 2010.
Omie Drawhorn, "Afghan influence: Video artist has Pullman roots," Moscow-Pullman Daily News, November 2008.
Albert Lanier, "Exposed: Artist Examines the Secrets of Women," Northwest Asian Weekly, October 2008.
Regina Hackett, "Stereotyping the Asian Feminine: Seattle PI's Editor's Choice," Seattle Post Intelligencer, February 2007.
Workshop Facilitator, “How Culture Matters: Tools for Social Justice through Self-Empowerment,” Afghan American Conference, New York University, New York, NY.
Artist Panel, “Accused of No Crime: Japanese Incarceration in America,” Downtown Central Library, Glendale, CA.
Artist Panel, “Culture Clash: A Discussion For And By Third Culture Women,” Women’s Center for Creative Work, Los Angeles, CA.
Artist Talk, “Manzanar: Tracing Shadows of Oppression Across Time and Space,” Society for Photographic Education West Conference, Tahoe City, NV.
Artist Panel, “Women in Contemporary Photography and Video,” Craft and Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles, CA.
Artist Panel, “It Starts from Within: Art, Power and Expression,” Museum of Latin American Art Long Beach, CA.
Artist Talk, Distant Attachments: Unsettling Contemporary Afghan Diasporic Art, City Lore Gallery, New York, NY.
Artist Talk, “Release Me: Metamorphosis and the Art of Self-Making,” Society for Photographic Education National Conference, San Francisco, CA.
Gupshup: Conversations with South Asian Women Artists, Seattle Asian Art Museum, Seattle, WA.
Artist Talk, “Afghan/American: Family Politics in the Afghan Diaspora,” Society for Photographic Education National Conference, Philadelphia, PA.
Artist Talk, Zayed University, Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.