About

 

Sobia Ahmad's interdisciplinary practice maps how the personal and the political intersect. By weaving personal and communal narratives with current and historical socio-political contexts, she highlights the inseparability of the self and larger power structures. The work poses questions like: What confirms or dissipates our sense of belonging? What effects do policies have on our individual and collective psyches? And how can our deeply intimate struggles of belonging inform larger conversations about national identity, notions of home, cultural memory, and gender?

Born and raised in Pakistan, Sobia Ahmad moved to the United States at the age of fourteen. She graduated with Honors from the Bachelor’s in Studio Art Program at the University of Maryland College Park. Her work has been reviewed in several major publications such as Al Jazeera English, The Washington Post, and The Huffington Post and has been included in multiple collections. She has exhibited internationally—including at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art (Ithaca, New York), Craft Contemporary (Los Angeles), Queen Mary University (London), Museum of Craft and Design (San Francisco), and the Women Filmmakers Festival at the Smithsonian American Art Museum (Washington, D.C.). Ahmad's recent achievements include the Wherewithal Research Grant by the Andy Warhol Foundation & the Washington Project for the Arts (2020-2021), a socially-engaged fellowship at Halcyon Arts Lab (2019-2020), and a solo exhibition at the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design in Washington D.C. (2019).

CV

EDUCATION

2015    B.S. Behavioral and Community Health (Magna Cum Laude) 

2016    B.A. Studio Art Honors 

            University of Maryland College Park

ARTIST RESIDENCIES & FELLOWSHIPS

2021   Visiting Artist and Teaching Fellowship, Groton School, MA  

2020   Halcyon Arts Lab Fellowship, Washington, D.C.

2019   Next Generation/Sanctuary Artist Fellowship at VisArts, Rockville, MD 

2018   Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT

           Arquetopia Artist Residency, Puebla, MX

           Sanctuaries DC, Art for Social Impact Fellowship, Washington, D.C.

 

AWARDS & GRANTS

2021   Semifinalist, Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition 2022, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

           The Trawick Prize, Third Place, Bethesda Contemporary Art Awards, Bethesda, MD

           Jurors' Award, Call and Response: Craft as a Tool for Activism, Museum of Craft and Design, San Francisco, CA 

2020   Wherewithal Research Grant, Andy Warhol Foundation & Washington Project for the Arts, Washington, D.C. 

           F.E.A.S.T. Grant, VisArts, Rockville, MD

           Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize Semifinalist, Baltimore, MD

           NextNOW Fest, Visual Arts Alumni Commission Award, University of Maryland College Park, MD

           Catharsis Community Engagement Project Grant 

2019   Allies for Justice Award, Asian Pacific Islander Domestic Violence Resource Project, Washington, D.C.

2018   Visual Arts Fellowship Award, Vermont Studio Center

2017   Juror’s Award, Shout, ARC Gallery, Chicago, IL (Juror: Patricia Nguyen)

2016   Creative and Performing Arts Scholarship, University of Maryland, Department of Art

           Sadat Art for Peace Purchase Award 

           Third Place, Colonel Wharton Award, Graduating Senior Show, University of Maryland, Department of Art

2015   Sadat Art for Peace Purchase Award 

SOLO & TWO-PERSON EXHIBITIONS

2021   Here(s), Christopher Brodigan Gallery, Groton School, MA (Solo exhibition)

2020   Conversations: Over Circles, with Monroe Isenberg, Cultivate Projects, Kensington, MD (Two-person exhibition)

2019   wherever you are is called Here, VisArts, Rockville MD (Solo exhibition)

           Conversations: Over Circles, with Monroe Isenberg, Lunga School, Seyðisfjörður, Iceland (Two-person exhibition)

           Imbrications, Gallery 102 at Corcoran School of the Arts & Design, Washington, D.C. (Solo exhibition)

           I know where I've been, Catalyst Contemporary, Baltimore, MD (Two-person exhibition) 

2018   Small Identities, Common Ground Gallery, Rockville, MD (Solo exhibition)

           Mirrored Re-Collection, Stamp Gallery at the University of Maryland College Park, MD (Two-person exhibition)

MUSEUM GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2021    Call and Response: Craft as a Tool for Activism, Museum of Craft and Design, San Francisco, CA

2020    Women Filmmakers Festival, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.

            American Muslim Futures, Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture & Design, Honolulu, HI

            Art Salon, Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD

2019    how the light gets in, Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Ithaca, NY

2018    A (Good) American, Heurich House Museum, Washington, D.C.

2017    Focus Iran 2: Contemporary Photography and Video, Craft and Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles, CA

SELECT GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2021   Migration Stories, Wilmer Jennings Gallery at Kenkeleba, New York City, NY

           Take a Number: Artists and Bureaucracy, Arlington Arts Center, Arlington, VA

           Am I Altering Your Aura?  Washington Project for the Arts, Collectors' Night, Washington, D.C.

           Silver LiningsAlchemical Vessels 2021, Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery, Washington, D.C.

           Empathy Zone, VisArts Center, Rockville, MD (online)

2020   Empathy Zone, Contemporary Art Mover, Beijing, China (Sister Cities Cultural Exchange: Beijing & Washington, D.C.)

           High Frequency, Washington Project for the Arts, Collectors' Night, Washington, D.C.

           Women in the Arts: Latela Curatorial, Washington, D.C. 

           Patterning, Pyramid Atlantic Arts Center, Hyattsville, MD

           Epilogue, Halcyon Arts Lab, Washington, D.C. 

           Something Edgeless, Something Spectral, Waller Gallery & Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD

           Authentic Realities, Catalyst Contemporary Gallery, Baltimore, MD

           The Garden of Forking Paths, Current Space, Baltimore, MD 

2019   Foreword, Halcyon Arts Lab, Washington, D.C.

           on tender ground, Current Space, Baltimore, MD

           Times of Perception, Stevenson University, School of Deign, Pikesville, MD

           School 33 40th Anniversary Invitation Exhibition, School 33 Arts Center, Baltimore, MD

           Transformer 16th Annual Auction, Corcoran School of Art and Design, Washington, D.C.

           Women of the World, Gallery Three at Takoma Park Community Center, Takoma Park, MD

           Honor the Spirit, Sanctuaries Gallery, The Festival Center, Washington, D.C.

           Alchemical Vessels 2019, Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery, Washington, D.C.

           VidArt Auction, The Art Museum of the Americas, Washington, D.C.

           Incandescent Bloom, ASHA for Women 30th anniversary gala, Washington, D.C.

2018   Loud Silence: Expressions of Activism, Sordoni Art Gallery, Wilkes University, Wilkes Barre, PA

           Transformer 15th Annual Auction, Corcoran School of Art and Design, Washington, D.C.            

           Border (Untitled), Cody Gallery, Marymount University, Arlington, VA

           Human Nature, Gallery 110, Seattle, WA (Juror: Sara Krajewski)

           Elixir: Artists Respond to Making and Healing, Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery, Washington, D.C.

           Vox Lacunae, Stamp Gallery, University of Maryland College Park, MD

2017   Shout, ARC Gallery, Chicago, IL (Juror: Patricia Nguyen)

           Create/Change, Hillyer Art Space, Washington DC (Juror: Mary Early)

           Out/Side & In/Between, School 33, Baltimore, MD (Juror: Jarvis DuBois)

           Islamic Art Revival Series: 6th Annual Juried International Contemporary Islamic Art Exhibition, Irving Art                                      Center, Irving, TX (Juror: Dr. Linda Komaroff)

           Photography as Response, Center for Fine Art Photography, Fort Collins, CO (Juror: Christy Havranek)

           Wet Paint, Workhouse Arts Center, Lorton, VA (Juror: Harry Cooper)

           Home, Lubzenik Center for the Arts, Michigan City, IN (Jurors: Emanuel Aguilar & Julia Fischbach) 

           Royal Trash, Queen Mary University, London, United Kingdom

2016   Typecast, Hillyer Art Space, DC (Juror: Jarvis DuBois)

           Gen-Y 3.0, VisArts, Rockville, MD

           Drawing Board, The Stamp Gallery, College Park, MD

           UMD Honors Thesis Show, Herman Maril Gallery, College Park, MD

           I Never See You, Brentwood Arts Center, Brentwood, MD

2015   In Response: Conversations Between Emerging Artists and Contemporary Work, The Stamp Gallery,                                            College Park, MD

           Continuing Legacies: Old Masters and New Apprentices, Herman Maril Gallery, College Park, MD

PRESS / MEDIA

2021   District Fray Magazine: Co-opting Bureaucracy Through Art: Arlington Arts Center’s New Exhibition

           The Washington Post: In the galleries: Autobiographical pieces prevail at the Trawick Prize

           Contemporaneity: Historical Presence in Visual Culture, No. 9: Moving Across, Through Cultures 

           District Fray Magazine: The Trawick Prize Honors Local Artists

           The Circle Voice: Mudge Fellow Sobia Ahmad: The Personal and the Political

2020   Social Distancing Studio Visit w/ Caroline Kipp: Curator of Contemporary Art, The Textile Museum, Washington, D.C.

           Contemporary Art MoverEmpathy Zone: 同感地带 | 段少锋 & Sobia Ahmad, Beijing China  

2019   The Washington Post: In the galleries (Review of solo exhibition wherever you are is called Here)

           The Washington Post: With two group exhibits, maximum exposure for photographers 

2018   Huffington Post: The powerful political statement behind this artist’s wall of passport photos 

           Al-Jazeera English: Muslim immigrants' ID cards used to build a 'wall of defiance'

           NBC Asian America: This artist is collecting Muslim immigrants' ID cards to build a different kind of wall

2017   Baltimore City Paper: No Borders: Artists in "Out/Side & In/Between" at School 33 navigate sense of                                     place, culture, self-image, and immigration

           The Washington Post: In the galleries: The art of politics has exploded in Washington

2016   Washington City Paper: At Rockville's VisArts, two exhibitions of young artists showcase talent and potential

 

LECTURES, TALKS & CONFERENCES

2021   More-than-Human Media Architecture Biennale, Queensland University, Brisbane, Australia  

           Mudge Fellow Campus-wide Artist Lecture, Groton School, MA 

           Guest Artist Lecture, Integrative Studio Design Course, Parsons, The New School, New York, NY 

2020   Women Filmmakers Festival Artist Panel, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.

           Visual Arts Alumni Commission Lecture, NextNOW Fest, University of Maryland College Park, MD

           Guest Artist Lecture, Goucher College, Baltimore, MD

           Guest Artist Lecture, Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Minneapolis, MN

           Guest Artist Lecture, Virginia Commonwealth University, VCU Fibers Department, Richmond, VA

           Guest Artist Lecture, Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD 

           Guest Artist Lecture, Integrative Studio Design Course, Parsons, The New School, New York, NY 

           Guest Artist Lecture, Advanced Design Seminar, Parsons, The New School, New York, NY

           Guest Artist Lecture: Art, Trauma, and Activism, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT

2019   The Art of Exposure: Double Exposure Film Festival, Eaton Workshop, Washington, D.C.

           Guest Lecture: Questioning as a Create Practice, Advance Research Seminar, The New School, New York, NY

           Shirt Stories/Shared Stories, Artist Talk at Tribute Collective, Washington DC

           Workshop facilitation & Artist Talk, Arts Scholars Program at the University of Maryland College Park, MD

           The Only Divisions that Matter Now: A roundtable discussion, Loyola University Baltimore, MD

           Healing through Art Panel: Alchemical Vessels 2019, Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery, Washington, D.C.

           Guest Artist Lecture, Integrative Studio Design Course, Parsons School of Design, New York, NY

           Guest Artist Lecture, Art Theory, University of Maryland College Park, MD

2018   Artist Talk, Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT

           Artist Lecture in conjunction with exhibition Mirrored Re-Collection, University of Maryland College Park, MD

           Guest Artist Talk, George Washington University, Washington, D.C.
           Responding to the Muslim Ban: Art & Activism Panel, Open Government Hub, Washington, D.C.