Associate Professor Karen Oremus




Zayed University, United Arab Emirates


Karen Oremus, Associate Professor, Co-Chair - Department of Art & Design, Zayed University

Karen Oremus was born in Montreal Canada. She has worked as an artist, curator and educator internationally in Canada, the United States, Italy, England, Germany, China, Estonia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Japan, Slovakia and the Middle East. She received her BFA in Printmaking, with a Minor in Roman Archaeology at Concordia University, Montreal, Canada. Karen graduated with an MFA in Printmaking from the Tyler School of Art of Temple University, in Philadelphia. Karen is an Associate Professor and serves as Co-Chair in the Department of Art and Design, Zayed University, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, where she established the first printmaking studio and printmaking discipline.

Through her creative research Karen explores the unpredictability and fragility of life from both a universal and personal perspective. This is emphasized through her examination of the concept of physical and environmental decay brought about by the passage of time or through natural or man-made disaster. Place, family, heritage, memory and history also motivate her work. The aforementioned concepts are expressed metaphorically in a variety of manifestations, which are created through a hybrid of traditional and non-traditional printmaking techniques, mainly utilizing etching, screen-printing, digital print and photography, that incorporate various other media such as drawing, encaustic, sound, and video. Karen most recently exhibited her work at the Kyoto Art Museum in conjunction with the 2010 Kyoto Art Festival.

Paper title

The Nomadic Resolution: Multiple Making in the United Arab Emirates - presented with Associate Professor Karen Oremus


This paper focuses on the positive impact that the printed multiple has made within the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and how the multiple has functioned as a political vehicle for local artists that are trying to establish themselves in this complex social environment wherein roughly 80% of the country's population are expatriates. The printed form, through multiple identities and manifestations, has provided an instantaneous venue to narrate histories, investigate cultural identity, and to further develop artistic practices and conversations in the UAE. Photography, primarily in digital form is one of the most commonly explored mediums with emerging artists in the UAE due to its availability/feasibility and its potential for dissemination. It is not only explored in print but also electronically through mobile cameras, social networking and other online facilities. Printmaking, which embodies a rich relationship between photography, drawing and mechanical image making, has a strong presence due to its synchronism with storytelling and history of exchange, a traditional element that continues within Emirati culture. Thus it is through this dissemination to a wider audience that assists in the erosion of perceived stereotypes of the Arab culture and introduces the artists of this emerging country to the world. The paper attempts to demonstrate the ways in which this young, small and growing local art community along with their expatriate peers are approaching conversations and engagement with the wider art world, and key examples of successful emerging artists are examined. It is through a framework of vignettes and strategies that explore how print media and online projects have functioned as a means of generating and evolving this discourse.


Friday 30 September


11:00am - 12.30pm





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