God Grows on Trees, 2007—2009

Abbas Hamra
God Grows on Trees, 2007—2009
Gouache on wasli
3.5 x 3 cm
Detail view
Commissioned and produced by Sharjah Art Foundation
Photo by Alfredo Rubio


By appropriating culturally loaded imagery and iconography, and transforming them into new works that may be experienced spatially and temporally, Hamra Abbas creates new platforms from which to view notions of culture, tradition, exchange and power. She presented two projects at the 2009 Sharjah Biennial: In this is a sign for those who reflect(2009), commissioned by the Biennial Production Programme and an earlier work, God Grows on Trees (2007-2008). Abbas was one of the recipients of the Sharjah Biennial Prize (2009).

Recent solo projects have been shown at Asia Society Triennial, New York (2020); Abu Dhabi Art (2019); Art Dubai (2018); Karachi Biennale (2017); Accademia di Brera, Milan (2016); MAXXI, Rome (2015); Kochi-Muziris Biennale (2014); Singapore Art Museum (2012); Medi(t)ation: 2011 Asian Art Biennial, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts (2011); Project Space, Berlin (2009); Green Cardamon, London (2008); and NCA Gallery, Rawalpindi, Pakistan (2008). Her work has featured in numerous group shows, including at Asia Society Triennial, New York (2020); Manhattan Bridge Anchorage, Brooklyn (2016); Zentrum für Kunst und Medien, Karlsruhe, Germany (2015); Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena, USA (2010); Asia Society Museum, New York; Walter and McBean Galleries, San Francisco Art Institute and REDCAT, LA (2009/10); International Biennial of Contemporary Art, Baku (2009); Sharjah Biennial (2009); Guangzou Triennial (2008); Istanbul Biennial (2007); and Biennale of Sydney (2006). Abbas’ work has also been exhibited at Victoria and Albert Museum, London; ARTIUM de Álava, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain; ifa Gallery, Berlin; and the Manchester Art Gallery, UK.

She has been awarded residencies and scholarships by institutions such as Vermont Studio Center, the Triangle Arts Trust, VASL and DAAD and regularly gives artist talks at academic institutions across North America and elsewhere. In 2010, she was among the winners of the Abraaj Capital Prize.

Hamra received her BFA and MA in Visual Arts at the National College of Arts, Lahore (1999 and 2002, respectively) before going on to the Universitaet der Kuenste in Berlin in 2004 where she received the Meisterschueler.

She lives and works between Boston and Islamabad.

SAF participation:
Sharjah Biennial 9


Abbas, Hamra

God Grows on Trees

God Grows on Trees seeks to speak at once about religion, fear, hope, humanity, love and commoditisation.