Aya Haidar

B. 1985


Artist Statement 


My investigation of the limitations of a visual language within fine art leads me to explore the fundamental elements of language that contribute to a story. This overlap plays on one's senses of memory and imagination. I place myself at the centre of the work, both physically as the object and emotionally as the subject.


My current work focuses on the recycling of found and disposable objects making poetic works that explore labour, displacement, domesticity, womanhood and memory, with a particular focus on the Middle East through the histories contained within aged, and culturally specific objects.


I further develop this aspect of re-using objects to re-create narratives, to explore memory with a focus on older objects from previous generations. This idea of the development of a generational craft work that spans time, at once explores hand me down skills, stories and community, and by extension, cultural specificity and intercultural nature of British society.


My focus on developing inter-cultural dialogues is a vital step in the support of offering alternative ways to see the world, and initiate debate about the globalised world we live in. I see my work contributing to dialogues around global cultures, media and questions of identity, both national and personal.


I explore whether the durational aspect of craft, more so than other artforms, expresses concepts of time, through the way in which the hand of the artist is inherent within the medium. Alongside this a consideration of whether the voice is inherent within craft and its histories, alluding to feminist narratives by bringing the domestic into a more discursive platform.


By reviewing history, authorship and authenticity, Cultural and historical customs are drawn out. Networks are re-worked where the material shapes the way the viewer identifies with stories and engagement can happen. Stories are recounted, history, authorship and authenticity are again revisited.



2008 - 2009, MSc NGOs and Development (Merit), London School of Economics and Political Science, London
2004-2008, BA Fine Art, 21, Slade School of Fine Art, UCL, London
2006-2007, Student Exchange, Fibre and Materials Studies Department School of the Art Institute, Chicago
2003-2004, Foundation Course, Chelsea College of Art and Design, London



2011- 2017, Director of Al Madad Foundation. UK registered charity working on the promotion of education and literacy for refugee children across the Middle East.


2021, Abu Dhabi Art Beyond commission Dwelling on the Past
Cromwell Place, London Highly Strung
2019, Cubitt Arts, London Out of Service
2017, Athr Gallery, Jeddah Wish You Were Here
2016, Art Berlin Contemporary, Berlin Wish You Were Here
2014, New Art Exchange, Nottingham Year of Issue
2011, Bischoff Weiss Gallery, London Behind Closed Doors
2009, Bischoff Weiss Gallery, London 1982, 198 Gallery, London Crewel Stories



2023, The Whitworth, Manchester, Autumn 2023 – Spring 2024 Material Power

2023, Kettle's Yard, Cambridge, 8 July – 29 October 2023 Material Power
2022, Somerset House, London Eternally Yours
2020, Collier Brystow Gallery, London Me, Myself and I
2019, Museum of Contemporary Art, Slovenia Southern Constellations
Athr Gallery, Jeddah Out of Place
2018, Jeddah 21,39 Refusing to be Still, Athr Gallery, Jeddah The Clocks Were Striken 13
2017, Athr Gallery, Jeddah, Letters
2016, Sharjah Art Foundation, Do It (co-curated by Hoor Al Qasemi and Hans Ulrich Obrist)
2015, Mosaic Rooms, London, I Spy with my Little Eye; Casa Arabe, Spain, I Spy With My Little Eye (curated by Sam Bardaouil and Till Felrath)
2014, Bischoff Weiss Gallery, London, A'Rebours; Contemporary Arts Platform, Kuwait, Stitching Cyborgs
2013, Bischoff Weiss Gallery, London Aya Haidar, Huda Lutfi, Sara Rahbar
2012, Lawrie Shabibi Gallery, Dubai, Text Me; Jiq Jaq Gallery, London, Man and Dog, Sultan Gallery, Kuwait, The Bravery
2010, JAMM, curated by Lulu al Sabah and Lydia Limerick, London, Neither Here Nor There
2007, Women for Peace, Stockholm, Sweden
Woburn Studios, London Turtle (curated by Michael Shamberg)
2006, Galerie Artcore, Paris;Galeria do Palacio, Porto



2022, Abu Dhabi Art, UAE (Athr Gallery)
2019, Art Dubai, UAE (Athr Gallery)
Abu Dhabi Art, UAE (Athr Gallery)
2018, Art Dubai, UAE (Athr Gallery)
Abu Dhabi Art, UAE (Athr Gallery)
2017, Abu Dhabi Art, UAE (Athr Gallery)
2016, Art Dubai, UAE (Athr Gallery); ABC, Berlin (Athr Gallery); Abu Dhabi Art, UAE (Athr Gallery)
2015, Abu Dhabi Art, UAE (Athr Gallery)
2014, FIAC, Paris (Athr Gallery)
2013, MENASA, Beirut (Bischoff Weiss Gallery), Art Dubai, UAE (Bischoff Weiss Gallery)
2012, Art Dubai, UAE (Bischoff Weiss Gallery)
2011, Art Dubai, UAE (Bischoff Weiss Gallery)
2009, Art Dubai, UAE (Bischoff Weiss Gallery); FIAC, Paris (Bischoff Weiss Gallery)



2022, Highly Strung, Athr Gallery; Hole & Corner, February Issue
2021, a-n Magazine, Issue 2; Katy Treggiden, In Conversation
2018, De Fil En Aiguille, Pyramid Editions 2018; Canvas Magazine, (February)
2017, Harper’s Bazaar Arabia, (Summer); Tribe Magazine, (Spring)
2016, Tribe Magazine, (Summer)
2015, Art of the Middle East, Modern and Contemporary Art from the Middle East and Iran by Saeb Eigner
2014, Art Reoriented; Financial Times

2013, Harper's Bazaar Art Arabia (December); Beirut Art Fair Magazine; Femme Magazine; The National
2011, Contemporary Practices (February)
2010, Emotional Learning Cards, Institute of International Visual Arts (INIVA) Saudi Gazette
2009, ELLE Magazine; Clare Market Review, recipient of Best Visual Arts Feature; Art Dubai Journal



Guggenheim, Abu Dhabi.



Aya has been involved in numerous social engagement projects, including The Camden Arts Center, Shubbak Festival, Mosaic Rooms’ Together Apart Lockdown Diaries, INIVA's A Place for Conversation, V&A's Stitching Borders and Record, Resist, Reframe, Tate's Illuminating Cultures program and INIVA’s Emotional Learning Cards, as well as being selected for Hans Ulrich Obrist and Hoor Al Qasemi’s Do It Arab project (2016).

2022, Stitching Borders, V&A, London; School Studio Mend & Repair, Mosaic Rooms, London; Sewing Dreams, Ambler Primary School, London
2021, Making Ties, Three Rivers Trust, Bexley
2020, Together Apart Lockdown Diaries, Mosaic Rooms, London
Summer School Program, Creative Practitioner, BA Spatial Design, UAL London
2018/2019, Cubitt Arts, London
2018, I Have Met The Enemy, Artist’s residency with Common Wealth, Wales
2017/8, Artist in Residency at Deveron Arts, Huntly, Scotland
2015, Collaborative project between INIVA, A-SPACE and Newport School
Exhibited at INIVA, London
2014, RCD>PLY>RWD>FFD>STP>EJ, Kashya Hildebrand Gallery, London
A Place for Conversation, INIVA, London
2013, Dwelling, public installation commissioned by Solidere in Saifi Village, Beirut
Hackney Live Project, INIVA, London
2012, Record, Resist, Reframe, V&A, London
2010, Illuminating Cultures, TATE Britain, London
2009, My Story, British Arts Council, London



Deveron Projects (Aberdeenshire), Cubitt Arts (London) and Three Rivers Trust (Bexley)