Ghada Amer was born in Cairo in 1963 and raised in France where she studied at Villa Arson, Nice. She currently lives and works in New York. Her wide-ranging practice spans painting, sculpture, works on paper, and garden and mixed-media installations. Over the course of her multi-decade career, Amer has created an aesthetic and conceptual language that confronts the systemic subjugation of the female voice and body. Recognizing the ways in which women are taught, almost from birth, to model behaviors and traits shaped by others, Amer's work actively subverts these frameworks, creating a space that recognizes and celebrates female autonomy, sexuality, and liberation. "I believe that all women should like their bodies and use them as tools of seduction," Amer stated.
Together, her paintings, sculptures, and garden projects explore the complicated nature of identity, developed through cultural and religious norms as well as personal longings and understandings of the self. Amer's examinations of the female experience have also extended into wider social dialogues about individual violence and war, and the frivolousness and naivete of both. Throughout her career, Amer has found inspiration from a diversity of sources, from fashion magazines to fairy tales, from pornography to religious texts, and from art history to current events. In 1992, Amer produced her first embroidered canvas depicting a pornographic image. Pornographic motifs offered a new and fertile ground for experimentation, allowing Amer to probe at the external pressure women feel to serve at once as Madonna and Whore. More importantly, though, Amer saw an opportunity to subvert this duality, embracing the existence of female sexuality and exposing women's autonomous desires for seduction and gratification.