Azra Akšamija is an artist and architectural historian, Associate Professor at 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 potency of art and architecture to transform conflicts, and in so doing, provide a framework for analyzing and intervening in contested socio-political realities. Her recent academic research focuses on the politics of representation of Islam in the West, conflict in the Balkans since the 1990s, and the destruction of cultural heritage in the Balkans and Middle East.
Akšamija holds masters degrees from the Technical University Graz, Austria (2001) and Princeton University (2004), and a Ph.D. in History of Islamic Art and Architecture from MIT (History Theory and Criticism of Art and Architecture / Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture, 2011). Her work has been exhibited internationally in 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.