Born in Cairo, Egypt, the granddaughter of survivors of the Armenian genocide, Anna Boghiguian is an artist whose densely composed drawings, photographs, paintings, and installations show how history affects the present. Her work is influenced by a wide range of history and art that comes from ancient Egypt all the way up through German Expressionism. Her surrealistic self-portraits, disturbing street scenes, and installations explore different histories of imperialism, war, colonialism, trade, displacement, and oppression.
In 1969, Boghiguian graduated from the American University in Cairo where she majored in economics and political science. She received her B.F.A. in visual arts and music from Concordia University in Montreal.
In 2012, she presented at Documenta 13 in Kassel, Germany, “Unfinished Symphony” where her more than 100 drawings connected Nazism and its genocide to the colonialism that preceded it.
Her 2015 installation in the 14th Istanbul Biennial “The Salt Traders” consisted of textiles, wax, watercolors, and salt from Africa, Asia, and Turkey – once the center of the salt trade – all of which were set out on the floor. Boghiguian views salt as the basis of human existence and sees its history as closely interlinked with the Silk Road and the growth of the slave trade since salt was exchanged and used for the purchase of slaves. Her 2016 “Woven Winds/The Making of an Economy – Costly Commodities” explored the rise of global trade through sea travel, slavery, and civil war.
Her first United States solo exhibition, “The Loom of History,” took place at New York’s New Museum during the summer of 2018. It was composed of text on walls, images of body parts, a screen of collages covered with images of history’s dictators, and stills from horror films, Her intent was to tie colonialism to the cotton industry to slavery and to the oppression of African Americans. Her series “In the World: East and West, North and South,” is a timeline of the worlds authoritarian leaders. “We’re often not aware that we’re being wooed by a despot.”
Boghiguian has had solo and group exhibitions in Europe, the Mid-East, and the United States. She has participated in several biennials including Sao Paulo and Cartagena in 2014. In 2015, she participated in the Venice Biennale where her work was shown at the Armenian Pavilion, which commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide. She has shown at the New Museum in New York in 2014 and at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 2017. Her work is part of the public collections of museums in Germany and France.