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date: 26 February 2021

Amer, Ghadalocked

Extract

Egyptian, 20th — 21st century, female.

Active in the USA.

Born 1963, in Cairo.

Draughtswoman, embroiderer.

Ghada Amer grew up in Paris. She studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Nice before traveling to the USA where she attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. She lives and works in both New York and Paris.

Amer is best known for her embroidered canvases, a subversive practice she adopted during her studies in Nice, unable to enroll in painting classes reserved exclusively for her male counterparts. Amer first used embroidery, a craft traditionally associated with women’s labour, to depict feminine stereotypes in banal domestic scenes, commercial advertising, and Disney cartoons. In 1992 she made a bold move to incorporate pornographic imagery into her work, claiming feminine sexuality as a site of empowerment. Complex sequential overlapping images of women arousing themselves are visible only when one approaches the canvas; at a distance, they merge into a colourful textured weave. Her work is often regarded as feminist, with the domestic symbolism of her needlework creating an intimate, autonomous female arena in which women please themselves....

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