Shahenda Soliman migrated to New Zealand in 2009. She graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Honours in 2013 from the University of Auckland. As a painter, Soliman explores her Egyptian heritage by appropriating traditional imagery and motifs and displacing these into site of cultural uncertainty and exchange. She juxtaposes icons of contemporary material culture to subvert assumed notions of identity, as well as examining her own relationship to the political tensions in her native Egypt. Her recent body of works explores the political assumptions of mass media. Rather than asserting any ideological claims, or critiquing failed utopian promises, Soliman paints from a position of knowledge expanding conversation on the threats to social and economic stability.
Drawing on techniques from collage and commercial design, Soliman’s practice engages with modern concerns of migratory experience and their daily negotiations with history and the present. This creates a compelling tension within her works which seek to flatten out expectations of linear and spatial progression. Instead Soliman’s paintings represents these experience as floating and ephemeral. As the artist explains, “…Memories often seem to have perpetual motion, for they are no longer concrete, only transient, leaving only traces in my mind…” This idea of the motion of memory presents itself in the artist’s sweeping brushstrokes and the simplified forms of in her works.
Soliman has exhibited in a number of group shows in Auckland including Fragmented Somantics, 2011; Images of Architecture, 2012; Tour, 2013; and Be the Light of My Lantern, 2014.
She is currently based in Auckland, New Zealand