Azza Zein, Lock Dispersal in Corner Solutions, 2019-22, multimedia installation (detail)
Azza Zein, Taskscape: Migrant lines in the depositing of movement' (detail), 2019, clay, mica golden leaf on MDF, potting mix soil. Photography by Matthew Stanton. Image courtesy the artist.
Azza Zein, Taskscape: Migrant lines in the depositing of movement' (detail), 2019, clay, mica golden leaf on MDF, potting mix soil. Photography by Matthew Stanton. Image courtesy the artist.
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Lock Dispersal in Corner Solutions: Azza Zein

29 July 2022 - 4 September 2022


Artist(s): Azza Zein

Location: The Atrium

Let me stay locked in
Tangled into other worlds
Flowing out of bodies
In-between skin pores
In this restricted impermanence
I am too comfortable inside these coils
Free me from the solace of isolation
The warm edges of corners
The contingency of meetings.


Lock Dispersal in Corner Solutions is an artistic response to three main components observed and encountered locally and globally as a result of COVID-19 lockdowns: exposed precarious economy; the aggravated distance of events; and the dematerialisation of relationships. Through video, text and immersive installation, Azza Zein continues her practice of ‘re-materialisation’ as a form of revaluing migrant bodies—uprooted human and non-human entities. In recognising the history of migrant materials, the invisible labour that is traced through their skin and their trajectory, the installation imagines an alternative socio-economic system, with poetic and caring gestures.

Azza Zein is a visual artist and writer who lives and works between Narrm/Melbourne and Beirut. Born to a Syrian mother and a Lebanese father, Zein grew up in Beirut, Lebanon. Her practice-led research examines concepts of value in art through the materiality of domestic space and personal experience as a migrant. Through a process of rematerialisation, conceptualised as care for  ‘migrant  materials’, her recent works comment on the dematerialisation of the economy and invisible labour. Her artistic research draws on her heritage and her background in economics to explore how artistic processes can be alternative modes of revaluation.

Zein holds a Master of Fine Arts from the Victorian College of Arts, the University of Melbourne (2020) and a PhD in economics from Texas A&M University (2005). She has exhibited in both solo and group exhibitions held in artist-run spaces in Australia. She has participated in diverse international art residencies around notions of the economy. In Argentina (Trans Acciones Utopicas) , India (ritualistic economy and labour), Mparntwe/Alice Springs (relations between body, labour and land) and remotely the Santa Fe Art Institute Labour residency. Zein was recently a finalist in the Incinerator Gallery Art for Social Change Award (2020), Australian Muslim Artist Award (2019) and the Athenaeum Club award (2020).

Zein won the Fiona Myer Art+Australia Internship award for 2020. She published her writing in Art + Australia, in Kohl, a Journal for Body and Gender Research, un Extended and recently Kings Artist-run Live from the field. She also performed in the CARE: transforming values through art, ethics and feminism, at George Paton Gallery in 2019. Her essay 'The Migrant Material," written in the voice of an industrial wooden pole comment on industrialisation as forms of de-rooting and compare notions of care, was published in a book, Care

Ethics and Art Anthology edited by Jacqueline Millner and Gretchen Coombs (Routledge).

She is a member of un Projects editorial committee (2021-2023) and the Women’s Art Register(WAR) committee.  She was un Projects board member (treasurer, 2020-2021)

In 2022, she was a part-time lecturer in the department of Fine Arts and Art History at the American University of Beirut. She is currently a part-time lecturer at La Trobe University in the school of humanities and social sciences (department of visual arts).

Artist Talk: Lock Dispersal in Corner Solutions
Saturday, 20 August, 1-2pm
Join artist Azza Zein with Dr. Lina Koleilat⁠—a Lebanese-Australian PhD graduate at the School of Culture, History and Language⁠—in conversation as they discuss issues of economy, precarious labour, social movements, and migration, latent within the exhibition.
This is a free event. RSVP here.