Azra Akšamija is an artist and architectural historian whose work investigates transcultural aesthetics, cultural mobility, and ways in which art and architecture can form a bridge between cultures. She is an Associate Professor of the Arts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Program in Art, Culture and Technology, where her research focuses on the representation of Islam in the West, architecture and conflict in the Balkans since the 1990s, and the politics of cultural memory and heritage. In her artistic work, Professor Akšamija combines intangible heritage from different cultural and historical contexts towards the creation of new art forms and shared future heritage. Her book, Mosque Manifesto (2015), offers a repertoire of ways in which creative forms of Islamic representation may foster better understanding between cultures, and generate a critical response to cultural stereotypes and politics of representation.
Professor Akšamija holds master’s degrees from the Technical University Graz and Princeton University, and a PhD in History of Islamic art and architecture from MIT. Her work has been shown at leading international venues including the Generali Foundation in Vienna, the Valencia Biennial, the Liverpool Biennial, Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb, SculptureCenter New York, Secession Vienna, Manifesta 7, Royal Academy of Arts, London, Queens Museum, New York, and the Fondazione Giorgio Cini as a part of the 54th Art Biennale in Venice. She received the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2013 for her design of the prayer space in the Islamic Cemetery, Altach, Austria.
"Islamic Cemetery.” In Architecture is Life, edited by Mohsen Mostafavi. Zurich: Lars Muller Publishers, 2013.
The Aga Khan Award for Architecture was established by His Highness the Aga Khan in 1977 to identify and encourage excellence in architecture and other forms of intervention in the built environment of societies with a Muslim presence. The Award is given every three years and recognizes all types of building projects that affect today's built environment. Smaller projects are given equal consideration as large-scale buildings. Richly illustrated and with explanatory texts, Architecture is Life, the monograph for the 2013 cycle, presents the 15 shortlisted and the 5 Award recipients. The 2013 cycle's topic is centered around the relationship between life and architecture. Numerous essays examine how architecture interacts with the life of people who inhabit it.
Source: Lars Muller Publishers and Aga Khan Award for Architecture