Fall 2021

Faculty Spotlight: Sama Alshaibi

UArizona art professor awarded 2021 Guggenheim Fellowship

Wonder makes me turn the desert into a mirror.

University of Arizona School of Art professor Sama Alshaibi is among 184 artists, writers, scholars and scientists to receive a 2021 Guggenheim Fellowship. Alshaibi, a photographic and video artist, is co-chair of the school’s Photography, Video and Imaging program.

She will use the award to produce “To Speak of Silence,” a project highlighting the experiences of women and girls in war-torn Iraq. Alshaibi focuses on the devastation beyond the shooting and explosions. Women, she says, are routinely harassed, kidnapped or brutalized with no recourse or accountability.

“My practice is a union of these immediate concerns: a commitment to share an Arab American, feminist perspective through a bodily site of struggle and identification,” Alshaibi says.

This year’s recipients were chosen through a peer-review process of nearly 3,000 applicants.

“This achievement is the mark of an artist who has distinguished their work and its relevance in profound ways,” says Colin Blakely, director of the School of Art.

‘That’s the hardest thing, right? To just take that mask off and be plainly who you are.’