Born in Tannoura, Lebanon in 1982, Balsam Abo Zour grew up in Abey. She trained under artists Mohammed Al Rawas and Fatima El Hajj while she completed her BFA at the Lebanese University of Fine Art. She received the Alexis Boutros Award for excellence in Visual Arts when she earned her Masters in Printmaking from ALBA. Abo Zour’s work evolved at Ashkal Alwan, where she maintained a studio space from 2013-2017 as part of its residency program. Her first exhibition was held in the Agial Art Gallery and since then she has joined many collective exhibitions in Beirut and Paris. Her work was shown at both the 32nd and 33rd Salon d'Automne at the Sursock Museum, where in 2018 she earned a special mention from the jury. Her last studio in Beirut was in Mansion. She moved to Bozeman, Montana at the start of 2020 and works out of Beall Street Studios where she has found a new love for ceramics and sculpture.
"The act begins with an image charged with intense feeling. A memory of it pulls on me. Before the painting calls itself into being, textures first take shape with charcoal and pastel pencils. My body greets the canvas with urgency.
I’m not independent of the energy surrounding me. Everything I produce is already there, waiting to be disassembled. This is the game I play with my work or perhaps this is the game it plays with me.
Bodies fuse and boundaries dissolve. Deformed shapes seek fresh judgment. My characters are tough. They pose for me, demanding attention. Their faces represent all potentialities. I focus on stoic countenances holding in an impulse to express themselves.
My work seeks revenge for all the clowns who hide their true selves for the sake of entertainment." - Balsam Abo Zour