Azra Akšamija is an artist, architectural historian and Associate Professor in the MIT Art, Culture and Technology Program. In her multi-disciplinary work, Akšamija investigates the politics of identity and memory on the scale of the body (clothing and wearable technologies), on the civic scale (religious architecture and cultural institutions) and within the context of history and global cultural flows. Her projects explore the agency of art and architecture in transforming conflicts though transcultural aesthetics and pedagogy, and in so doing, provide a framework for analyzing and intervening in contested socio-political realities.
Akšamija’s recent academic research focuses on the representation of Islam in the West, destruction and restoration of cultural heritage connecting in the Balkans and the Middle East. In her artistic practice Akšamija combines craft and intangible heritage from different cultural and historical contexts towards the creation of new art forms and future heritage. Her work has been published and exhibited in leading international venues such as at the Generali Foundation Vienna, Valencia Biennial, Gallery for Contemporary Art Leipzig, Liverpool Biennial, Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb, Sculpture Center New York, Secession Vienna, Manifesta 7, Stroom The Hague, the Royal Academy of Arts London, Jewish Museum Berlin, Queens Museum of Art in New York, Qalandiya International, London Biennale – Manila Pollination 2016 and the Fondazione Giorgio Cini as a part of the 54th Art Biennale in Venice. She received the prestigious Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2013 for her design of the prayer space in the Islamic Cemetery Altach, Austria.