Samira Abbassy

Samira Abbassy was born in Ahwaz, Iran and moved to London, UK as a child. After graduating from Canterbury College of Art, she showed her work in London for ten years before moving to New York in 1998. 


The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts awarded her a Lifetime EFA Studio Membership in recognition of her work in developing the EFA Studio Program. She has also served on the EFA Board of Directors.

Samira Abbassy was born in Ahwaz, Iran in 1965 and moved to London, UK as a child. After graduating from Canterbury College of Art, she began showing in London. She moved to New York in 1998, where she helped to set up the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, and the EFA Studio Center.


Her work has been included in shows at the Metropolitan and the British Museum and is in private and public collections worldwide, including the Metropolitan Museum, British Museum, the British Government Art Collection, the Grey Art Gallery at NYU, the Burger Collection, the Donald Rubin collection (Rubin Museum, NY), the Farjaam Collection, Dubai, the Los Angeles County Museum and the Afkhami Collection.


During Abbassy’s thirty-year career, her work has been the subject of twenty gallery solo shows in London, Dubai, and New York. Her fellowships include the Yaddo fellowship in 2006 and 2022 and Saltonstall in 2017. She has been awarded two NYFA awards in 2007 and 2018, a Joan Mitchell award in 2010, and a Pollock-Krasner in 2014. Abbassy was also nominated for the Anonymous Was a Woman award in 2018.


In 2019 her work was included in the 26th Venice Biennial presented by Heist gallery London. Abbassy has also worked as an educator in many educational institutions in the UK and the USA, some of which are: Hunter College, Penn State, and the University of Virginia, where she was the artist in Residence in April 2012. In 2023 her work will be included in Women Defining Women in Contemporary Art in the Middle East and Beyond, Curated by Linda Komaroff, Los Angeles County Museum.

Group shows at Ceysson Gallery
Body Full of Stars , New York
June 21 - July 28, 2023


Solo Exhibitions


2023 Embodied Mythologies - Advocartsy, Los Angeles, CA 

2019 A Night Sea Journey - XVA Gallery, Dubai, UAE

2017 Redemptive Narratives, Migrating Patterns - XVA Gallery, Dubai, UAE 

2016 Leaping the Void - Grey Art Gallery, NYU and Pomegranate Gallery, NY NY 

2015 Love & Ammunition - Rossi & Rossi gallery, London 

2015 Narratives: Hearts, Minds & Mythologies, Bernstein Gallery, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University, NJ 

2015 An Autobiography & Other Confessions - XVA Gallery, Dubai 

2014 Conflicting Narratives - B2OA Gallery, NY 

2007 Anthony Giordano Gallery, Dowling College, NY 

2005 Mirror of Inclusion – Vernacular Press, New York 

2002 Veiled Icon - Skoto Gallery, New York 1993997/95/93 One Person Show - Mercury Gallery, London, UK 


Museum Shows


2024 (Title TBD) - Brattleboro Museum, Vermont 2023 Real Families - Curated by Susan E. Golombok, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge University, UK 

2023 Women Defining Women in Contemporary Art in the Middle East and Beyond, Curated by Linda Komaroff, Los Angeles County Museum, CA 

2021 Reflections: Contemporary Art of the Middle East and North Africa - From The British Museum Collection - The British Museum, London, UK 

2016 The Human Image : Masterpieces of Figurative Art From The British Museum - International Touring Exhibition :The National Museum of Korea 

2015 Bazm O Razm - Curated by Maryam Ekhtiar, (Kevorkian Room, Islamic Dept.) Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY 

2015 Azadi va Edalet: Stories Retold by Contemporary Iranian Women Artists, Oglethorpe University Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA 

2012 Her Stories Curated by Jaishri Abichandani, Queen Museum of Art, NY 2009 Iran Inside Out, curated by Sam Bardaouil - Chelsea Art Museum, New York 


Selected Group Shows


2023 Unanchored - Two person show with Simonette Quamina, Curated by Billy Frank, Moss Galleries, Portland, Maine 

2023 Carrying the Effigy, Three person show, Candice Madey Gallery, NY, NY 

2022 Future Fair, with Nyama Fine Art, Chelsea, NY NY 

2022 Mostly New: Selections from NYU Art Collection. Grey Art Gallery, New York University, NY NY 

2022 Dread in the Eyes - Curated by Deric Carner - The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, NY, NY 

2021 “Defied Logic” Curated by Nina Divani - Ivy Brown gallery NY 

2019 “She Persists”, Heist Gallery at the 58th Venice Biennale, Italy 

2018 Apres Coup -Transforming Trauma into Art - Curated by Hallie Cohen - Hewitt Gallery of Art at Marymount Manhattan College, NY 

2017 Facial Profiling, Curated by David Terry & NYFA at C24 Gallery, New York 

2017 Outcasts: Women in the Wilderness at Wave Hill, Bronx, NY 

2016 Persian Color - Curated by Bill Carroll, Shirin gallery NY 

2015 Artistic Weapons of Mass Communication - Curated by Souhad Rafey - FiveMyles gallery, Brooklyn, NY 

2013 & 2014 Istanbul Art Fair with Todd Hosfelt Gallery, San Francisco 

2013 The Body is Present - Curated by Deborah Frizzell, Ramapo College, NJ 

2013 Women Redrawing the World Stage, SOHO20 Gallery, NY 

2012 Salam Bombay Curated by Jasmine Wahi, Art Asia Miami, FL. 

2012 Fertile Crescent - Rutgers University, NJ 

2012 Fabian Walters Gallery (Zurich) Presents at New Delhi Art Fair, India 

2011 Shapeshifters & Aliens, Curated by Jaishri Abichandani, Rossi & Rossi Gallery, London UK 

2011 Fluidity Layering & Veiling, Curated by Deborah Frizzell, CT University, CT 

2010 Tough Love Curated by Shaheen Mirali, Platforma Revolver, Lisbon, Portugal 

2010 Tehran, New York - Leila Heller Gallery, NY NY

2009 The Promise of Loss, Curated by Shaheen Mirali, Galleri Ernst Hilger, Vienna, Austria, (Traveled to Arario Gallery, NY) 

2009 Movers & Shakers - Leila Heller gallery, New York 

2009 Incheon Women Artists' Biennale - Korea 

2009 798 Beijing Biennale - Beijing, China 

2009 Artists In Exile - Arario gallery - New York 

2009 Tehran biennale - Urban Jealousy - Tehran, Iran 

2007/04/01 Two person show - England Gallery, London, UK

Nov 2021 Cultural Politics - Ghosts of Migration; An Interview with Samira Abbassy, by Deborah Frizzell - Duke University Press (https://doi.org/10.1215/17432197-9305377) 

Aug 2021 British Museum Events (on Youtube): Music to stir the soul - interview with Venetia Porter 

Aug 2017 Boston Globe, Review of “Echo” Curated by Azita Moradkhani at Gallery Kayafas, Boston, MA 

Sept 2012 Financial Times Lifestyle section interview by Nisa Qasi 

July 2011 Art Asia Pacific Magazine: Interview by Jaishri Abichandani