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Artist Mariam Aziza Stephan

Mariam Aziza Stephan

Greensboro, NC, USA


Afghan, b. 1972   —   As the daughter of Afghan and former East-German immigrants, Stephan synthesizes her story of cultural hybridization and dislocation with that of her family's. Her paintings and drawings explore an aftermath and places that can't be recovered. Battered casualties memorializing the ground around us are reminders of our collective loss. Sir Simon Schama argued that landscapes are culture before they are nature. Landscapes reflect what we value or squander; the places Stephan constructs explore this state of psychological, political, and environmental upheaval. They do not represent a single place rather an aggregate of no-go zones and those moving in that direction. The sense of loss, polarization, and fracturing that she has attempted to construct in these images is meant to simultaneously reflect upon and memorialize the time we live in and recognize our shared accountability to the land around us. By envisioning land and water as powerful and brave characters that endure plundering, exploitation, and neglect, she explores the raw and stark echoes of what remains and struggles to survive. Stephan holds an MFA in Painting from the University of Washington and a BFA from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Stephan has exhibited in numerous institutions including the Weatherspoon Art Museum, Mobile Museum of Art, Gezira Art Center in Cairo Egypt, and the South Eastern Center for Contemporary Art. She is the recipient of several awards including a Fulbright Research Fellowship in affiliation with the Egyptian Museum in Cairo for her project: Painting Bridging Time: The Egyptian Fayum Mummy Portraits, North Carolina State Arts Council Fellowship, and residencies at the Vermont Studio Center, Ox-Bow, DRAWinternational, and currently serves as Professor in Painting at UNC Greensboro.

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