Sama Alshaibi and Dena Al-Adeeb

January 2010

The collaborative project Baghdadi Mem/Wars is a video and photography series in three suites: Still/Chaos,Efface/Remain, and Absence/Presence. Its conceptual premise is rooted in the corporal, intellectual, and emotional embodiment of war and displacement. Emanating from collaborators Dena Al-Adeeb and Sama Alshaibi’s lived experiences and personal bodily memory of a lifetime in the trenches of an undying war,Baghdadi Mem/Wars paints the landscape of the artists’ brush with annihilation. The psychosomatic narrative presented in this series of work manifests and replays on the topography of body, memory, and spirit.

Sama Alshaibi is an artist born in Basra, Iraq to an Iraqi father and Palestinian mother and is now a naturalized United States citizen. Alshaibi’s photography, video, film, and performance works evoke the language of suffering, displacement, and loss. She often uses her own body as both a protagnist and a site linking struggles and the way that nations have affected and twisted lives in bodily performances. Her auto-ethnographic approach is informed by her own history of living in war, the double negation to her familial homelands, and her countless encounters with those policing borders from the undesired. An Assistant Professor of Photography at the University of Arizona, Alshaibi received her M.F.A. in Photography & Video and Media Arts at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Alshaibi exhibits internationally, with upcoming exhibitions at Paris Photo, Art Dubai, and solo exhibitions in The West Bank and London.

Dena Al-Adeeb was born in Baghdad, Iraq. Deported out of Iraq just before the Iraq/Iran War in 1980, she and her family escaped to Kuwait until the beginning of the 1991 Gulf War, when she was forced to relocate to San Francisco, California. Dena left the United States in 2003 when she spent time in several places (Mexico, Cuba, Spain, U.A.E, Jordon, Iraq) before moving to Egypt for four years. She returned to the US in 2008 and is currently residing between San Francisco and Los Angeles, California. She received her M.A. in Anthropology-Sociology, Visual and Cultural Anthropology at the American University of Cairo. She received her B.A. in International Relations, Middle East and North Africa from San Francisco State University. Her work has been presented in New York, San Francisco, Oakland, Michigan, Sweden, Cairo and at the Orebro International Videoart Festival, Falaki Gallery, Mashrabia Gallery, Karim Francis Gallery, National Arab American Museum, SomArts Gallery, and Pro-Arts Gallery, among other venues.