Azra Akšamija

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Date and place of birth: 1976, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Living place: Cambridge, USA

Theme: architecture

ECC Participation: panel member

photo: private archive

Azra Akšamija is interested in the history of architecture, with a special focus on Islamic religious buildings. She conducts academic research and creates art. Her style is particularly influenced by conceptual art. Her work has been exhibited at Manifesta 7 in Rovereto, Italy (2008), Stroom in the Hague (2009), and the Art Gallery at the Cleveland State University (2010), where she took part in a group exhibition titled “Another Way of Looking: Influences from Islam.” Akšamija’s most interesting work includes a line of clothing inspired by the culture and architecture of Islam. These “wearable mosques” serve a series of functions, and may be used, for example, as a prayer rug.

“Lose yourself in the Balkans and find yourself in Europe.”

Akšamija was born in Sarajevo, from where she emigrated to Germany as a teenager, before moving to Austria. She has held Austrian citizenship since 1997. She studied architecture at the Graz University of Technology and Princeton University. She also took part in the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she recently got her PhD. Currently she is an Assistant Professor at MIT's Art, Culture and Technology Program. Her interests revolve around contemporary forms of Islamic architecture in her home country of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Western Europe, and the United States. Her research and art explores dialog between Islam and other cultures.

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TAGS: Azra Aksamija, islam, Alien Europe