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Gazelle Samizay

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Works in the Permanent Exhibition

Gazelle Samizay Photographs





Basic Information

Date of Birth: 6/18/1981

Place of Birth: Kabul, Afghanistan

Current residence: Tempe, Arizona, U.S.A.

Family residence: Washington State, U.S.A.

Languages: English, Dari, some French

School: University of Washington, Seattle

Bachelor of Arts: Interdisciplinary Visual Arts and International Studies.

I just got accepted into the Master of Fine Arts program for Photography at the University of Arizona, Tucson.

GazelleSamizay was born in Kabul, Afghanistan and now resides in Los Angeles. Her photographs and videos
have been exhibited across the US and internationally, including Brazil, Bulgaria, Egypt, France, Indonesia, Pakistan,
U.A.E and the UK. 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 and currently teaches at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh-Online Division.
She also serves on the board of the Bo M. Karlsson Foundation, which provides scholarships for Nepali women to
attend college. Samizay is represented in the Middle East by Lawrie Shabibi Gallery (Dubai).

Artist Statement:
For me, art is a political act of discovering and speaking one’s truth.

I was born in Kabul in the midst of the communist invasion to a family of teachers and social activists. Shortly thereafter,
my family traveled to Paris, Washington D.C. and finally settled in the small rural town of Pullman, WA. I started using
photography as a way to mend my fragmented history and to better understand who I am. Impressed by the power
of the media to create narratives that define my culture, gender and thus me, I use photography and video to do the same.
I can use these mediums to twist the truth, meshing fact and fiction, all the while revealing secrets buried in silences. Video
allows me to immerse the viewer in hushed narratives, while photos act as snapshots, pausing traumas in time to allow for
reflection. I use female characters to represent myself, but also to question the burden of cultural and gendered expectations.
Often, my work cannot escape its social and cultural context; at other times it stems from a deeper personal space. My artistic
practice is transformative, as secrets shed their shame to be exposed simply as truths.
The viewer is left with the messy (yet beautiful) process and I am left with the invisible release, allowing me to move forward.


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