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Art Basel Miami Beach: Meridians

Miami Beach Convention Center

December 8-10, 2023

Installation view of Art Basel Miami Beach, Meridians Sector, M5, on view from December 8-10, 2023

Installation view of Art Basel Miami Beach, Meridians Sector, M5, on view from December 8-10, 2023

Installation view of Art Basel Miami Beach, Meridians Sector, M5, on view from December 8-10, 2023

Installation view of Art Basel Miami Beach, Meridians Sector, M5, on view from December 8-10, 2023

Press Release

Vian Sora: Abzu I Art Basel Miami Beach: Meridians, M5

For Art Basel Miami Beach's Meridians sector, Luis De Jesus Los Angeles is pleased to present a monumental new painting by Iraqi artist Vian Sora, titled Abzu.

Amidst vivid hues and vibrant coloration, Sora's paintings divulge historical, environmental, and psychological landscapes. Informed by her personal experience and global perspective of life in the Middle East and abroad, Sora uses the element of water as a symbol of flux, resilience, and rebirth amongst shifting attributes—exposing human necessity and vulnerability. The title "Abzu" refers to the primeval subterranean sea, a middle realm inhabited by deities, that is the source of fresh water. In Sumerian and Akkadian mythologies, the mystical underground aquifers were believed to provide water to lakes, rivers, and wells, springing forth regenerative powers. The painting addresses the lost fertility below the alluvial fields that were once able to sustain Iraq.

Water's ability to both nourish and destroy is a characteristic Sora examines alongside themes of entropy, healing, archetypal experiences, and natural occurrences that know no borders. Through an insightful use of iconography that yields both ancient and modern connotations, Sora employs early Mesopotamian aesthetics that also parallel abstract figurative zeitgeist, achieving an uncanny visceral notion of time and nature as cyclical. Working with oil, acrylic, and raw pigments on canvas, Sora's approach to the medium insinuates a struggle with history and its intersection with nature. Dense with ideas and the distillation of experiences, her atmospheric surfaces are layered with optical ambiguities that allow her to express untold emotional landscapes.

Sora's works ruminate on the organic and man-made forces that have impacted the environment. Water, and its collision with fire, is a recurring theme in her work and stems from the dried-up marshes and rivers in Iraq—the result of numerous wars and human abuse. However, this phenomenon is not strictly limited to Iraq, as evidenced by current threats of rivers and other bodies of water drying up from global warming, diversion wildfires mismanagement, and the displacement of human population. Echoing the way in which earthen matter is recycled post-tectonic collision, Sora believes society oscillates within a cycle of entropy and regeneration. Like nature's ability to replenish beauty amongst the detritus, we too emerge to rebuild and survive.

Vian Sora (b. 1974, Baghdad, IQ) received a BS from Al Mansour University in Baghdad, Iraq in 2000, and an MBA from Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky in 2012. She also studied printmaking at the Istanbul Museum of Graphic Art in Istanbul, Turkey in 2007. In 2025, Sora will be the subject of a survey exhibition being organized by the Speed Art Museum, Louisville, KY, the Santa Barbara Museum fo Art in Santa Barbara, CA, and the Asia Society in Houston, TX. Her work has been included in solo and group exhibitions nationally and internationally including the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, OH; Speed Art Museum, Louisville, KY; Baltimore Museum of Art, MD; Sharjah Biennale, Sharjah, UAE; KMAC Triennial, Louisville, KY; The Shands Collection, Louisville, KY; Grinnell Museum of Art, Grinnell, Iowa; Istanbul Museum of Graphic Art, Istanbul, Turkey; Japanese Foundation Culture Center, Ankara, Turkey; Baghdad Art International Art Festival in Iraq, among others.

Media Contact: Brianna Bakke, Director | mobile: 1.323.448.0147 | email:

Miami Beach Convention Center
1901 Convention Center Drive
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Vip And Press Preview- 
By invitation: Wednesday, December 6th, from 9:30am to 7pm, and Thursday, December 7th, from 11am to 7pm

Friday, December 8, 2023, 11am to 6pm
Saturday, December 9, 2023, 11am to 6pm
Sunday, December 10, 2023, 11am to 6pm

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