* 1966, Lebanon
Akram Zaatari works with archives of images and documents to examine notions of desire, resistance, memory, and surveillance, as well as the production and circulation of images in times of war and the shifting of political boundaries. Working in photography, film, video, installation, and performance, he has built a complex body of work that explores the state of image-making today. Zaatari is especially interested in issues pertinent to the Lebanese postwar condition: particularly the televised mediation of territorial conflicts and wars, as well as the logic of religious and national resistance. In series such as Crazy of You (1997), and The End of Time (2013), Zaatari explores representations of male sexuality in the Middle East. Recent works are based on his collection and study of the Middle East’s photographic history, archiving images that comprise a valuable record of social relations and photographic practices of the region. In addition to Zaatari’s more recent archive work, he was one of the founding members of the Arab Image Foundation (1997) and of the Lebanese Association for Contemporary Art, which aims to track down and preserve photos from North Africa, the Middle East, and Arab communities around the world.
Zaatari earned his Bachelor of Architecture in 1989 from the American University of Beirut and his Master of Arts in Media Studies from the New School University, New York in 1995. In 1997 he was the organizer of the former ayloul Festival. He has been awarded with the Yanghyum Prize, Seoul (2011); First Prize at the FAIR PLAY Video Art Festival Berlin for “Red Chewing Gum” (2005); Grand Prize, Videobrasil, for “Tomorrow Everything Will Be Alright,” Brazil (2004); Best Documentary and Best Director at the Beirut Film Festival for “Crazy of You” (1998), among others.
His most important exhibitions include; Akram Zaatari, Unfolding, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden (2015); Akram Zaatari: The End of Time, The Power Plant, Toronto, Canada (2014); Lebanon Pavilion, at the 55th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy (2013); Projects 100: Akram Zaatari, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York (2013); This Day at Ten / Aujourd'hui à 10, Magasin Centre National d'Art Contemporain de Grenoble, France (2013); Tomorrow Everything Will Be Alright, MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, United States (2012); The Uneasy Subject, MUAC, Mexico (2012); Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León, Spain (2011). Moreover, he has exhibited his work in group exhibitions at various institutions including: The New Museum, New York, United States (2014); The Centre de la Photographie, Geneva Switzerland (2013); The Kadist Foundation, Paris, France (2012); Van Abbemuseum Eindhoven, Netherlands (2010); Kunstverein München (2009); La CaixaForum, Barcelona (2006); Portikus Frankfurt, Germany (2004); De Appel Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (2002).
Furthermore, his work has been part of biennials such as the 14th Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul Turkey (2015); The Yokohama Triennale, Yokohama, Japan (2014); The 55th and 52th Biennale di Venezia, Venice Italy (2013 and 2007); 27th São Paulo Biennial, São Paulo, Brazil (2006); the 6th Gwangju Biennale, Gwangju, South Korea (2006) and the 15th Biennale of Sydney, Sydney (2006).
Akraam Zaatari is a video artist and curator who currently lives and works in Beirut.