Nadia Ayari

© Courtesy of Nadia Ayari and cadet capela

Born in 1981, Tunis, Tunisia
Lives and works in New York

Nadia Ayari is a Tunisian-American artist whose vibrant and thought-provoking works straddle abstraction and figuration. Born to a Tunisian father and an American mother, Ayari moved to the United States in 2000 and pursued a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Rhode Island School of Design. In 2007, Ayari made New York City her home and set up a studio in the eclectic Lower East Side, dedicating herself fully to her artistic practice. Since then, she has been engaged in an exploration of multivalent narrative and form through paint. Hers is a unique lens through which western art histories such as Abstract Expressionism can be instrumentalized to describe a world lived in three languages and from a multitude of cultural positions.

Ayari’s artwork is characterized by her vivid oil paintings that delve into narratives of survival, intertwining the personal and the political. She constructs imaginary scenarios inspired by elements of the flora of her native North Africa, striking a unique fusion of natural and fantastical motifs. In her recent works, Ayari breathes life into thriving scenes of branches, pink flowers, and leaves, evoking a sense of motion and connection against all odds. These compositions, rendered in thick and meticulously applied oil paint, endow her creations with a substantial and tangible presence, enhancing their relatability to the viewer. Ayari’s work explores the intersection of personal experience and geopolitics, frequently narrating stories related to how socio-political conflicts impact individuals.

Curriculum vitae

Solo and two-person exhibitions
  • 2023
    Glitches, Amplifications, cadet capela, Paris, FR
  • 2021
    We Saw Stars, Taymour Grahne Projects, London, GB
  • 2020
    New Drawings (Online), Taymour Grahne Projects, London, GB
  • 2019
    Ways of Holding On, Taymour Grahne Projects, London, GB
  • 2016
    Bricks, Taymour Grahne Gallery, New York, NY, US
  • 2013
    The Fountain and The Fig, The Third Line, Dubai, AE
  • 2011
    Monya Rowe, New York, NY, US
  • 2009
    Luce Gallery, Torino, IT
  • 2008
    TBD Boston, Boston, MA, US
  • Mehr Gallery, New York, NY, US
  • 2007
    Whimsy Sex, Sol Koffler Gallery, Providence, RI, US
  • Swap/Meet, The Ice Box, Philadelphia, PA, US
  • Eating The Sands Of Time, Knew Gallery, Washington DC, WA, US
Group exhibitions
  • 2024
    States of Becoming, Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines, IA, US
  • 2023
    Fresh Nature, Kutlesa, Goldau, CH
  • 2022
    Intimacy, Taymour Grahne Projects, London, GB
  • The Entelechians, Ruschman, Chicago, IL, US
  • 2021
    L’art, un jeu sérieux, Musée d’Art Contemporain Africain Al Maaden, Marrakech, MA
  • Greater New York show, MoMA PS1, New York, NY, US
  • 2009
    Unveiled : New Art from the Middle East, The Saacthi Gallery, London, GB
  • On paper, Galleria Monica De Cardenas, Zuoz, CH
  • 2011
    3rd Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art – Old Intersections – Make it New, Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki, GR
  • 2010
    12th Cairo Biennale, International Cairo Biennale, Giza, EG
  • 2022
    1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, London, GB
  • 2020
    Art Geneve, Geneva, CH
  • 2017
    Dallas Art Fair, Dallas, TX, US
  • 2016
    Untitled, Miami Beach, FL, US
  • Dallas Art Fair, Dallas, TX, US
  • 2014
    Art Dubai Projects, Dubai, AE
  • Pinault Collection, Paris, FR
  • The Saatchi Gallery, London, GB
  • Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah, AE
  • 2014
    Resident at AiR Dubai, Dubai, AE
  • 2010
    Resident at the Fine Arts Work Center, Provincetown, MA, US
  • 2007
    MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI, US
  • 2006
    Resident at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Drawing, Madison, ME, US