Hamra Abbas' artistic practice draws from a myriad of sources and takes a diversity of forms. Her works originate from encounters and experiences - an image, icon or gesture - that are manipulated by the artist transforming its scale, function or medium. Her intention is to deconstruct the act of seeing by recreating images that form part of a collective memory. Unrestrained by subject matter or media, she takes an investigative approach to produce a diverse and holistic body of work addressing notions of cultural history, sexuality, violence, ornamentation, devotion and faith. 


Hamra Abbas (b. 1976,  Kuwait) received her BFA and MA in Visual Arts from the National College of Arts, Lahore in 1999 and 2002 respectively before attending Universitaet der Kuenste in Berlin where she did the Meisterschueler in 2004.  


She has exhibited internationally with recent solo exhibitions including: Frieze Seoul with Lawrie Shabibi, Focus Asia sector, Seoul, South Korea (2023); COLOR | GARDEN, Lawrie Shabibi, Dubai, 2022; Color Wheel, Canvas gallery, Karachi, 2021; Every Colour is a Shade of Black, COMO Museum of Art, Lahore, 2020; Open Cube, Lawrie Shabibi, Dubai, 2019; Gardens in Which Rivers Flow: Plastic Flowers and Everyday Miracles, Art Dubai with Canvas Gallery, Dubai, 2019; Color, Canvas gallery, Karachi, 2017; Bodies, Lawrie Shabibi, Dubai, 2016; But Can You Show this in Pakistan? PILOT, Istanbul, 2015; and, Kaaba Picture as a Misprint, Lawrie Shabibi, Dubai, 2014. 


Her work has been exhibited as part of numerous group shows including, most recently: Ornamenting Relation,  Blackwood Gallery, University of Toronto, Mississauga, Canada, 2022Art Dubai Contemporary, with Lawrie Shabibi, Dubai, 2022; Precaution, ARTER, Istanbul, Turkey, 2021; Tonight No Poetry Will Serve, Barefoot Gallery, Colombo, 2021;  Under Construction, Lawrie Shabibi, Dubai, 2021; Art Dubai Contemporary, with Lawrie Shabibi, Dubai, 2021; Gateway: Fragments, Yesterday and Today, Abu Dhabi Art Fair, Abu Dhabi, 2019; Second Karachi Biennale, Bagh Ibn e Qasim, Karachi, 2019; She Persists, Palazzo Benzon, Venice (2019); Art Dubai Contemporary, with Lawrie Shabibi, Dubai, 2018; Lahore Biennale, Lahore, 2018; Global Control and Censorship, Galeria Arsenal, Bialystok, 2017; Karachi Biennale, Karachi, 2017;  Sanctuary, FOR-SITE Foundation, San Francisco, 2017; Insights, Art Basel Hong Kong, with Lawrie Shabibi, 2017; and, The Making of an Institution, NTU CCA, Singapore, 2017.


Abbas is an Honoree of the Asia Arts Game Changer Awards 2021. She is the recipient of the Jury prize at Sharjah Biennial 9, the Abraaj Capital Art Prize in 2011 and was shortlisted for the Jameel Prize in 2009.


In 2021, Abbas presented Garden (2021) - a large-scale public art intervention commissioned under the Expo 2020 Dubai Public Art Programme, and intended to remain on site as part of the future city of District 2020.


Her work is part of significant collections, including: the British Museum, London, UK; Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas, USA; 21c Museum Hotel, Louisville, Kentucky, USA; Cincinnati Art Museum, Ohio, USA; Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena, USA; USA Art In Embassies Collection, USA; Burger Collection, Hong Kong; Koç Foundation, Istanbul, Turkey; Borusan Foundation, Istanbul, Turkey; Kadist Collection, Paris, France; Vanhaerents Art Collection, Brussels, Belgium; Devi Art Foundation, Guragon, India; Kiran Nader Museum of Art, New Delhi, India; King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra), Saudi Arabia;  Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, UAE.


Abbas currently lives and works between Lahore and Boston.