Mark Rothko (September 25th 1903 – February 25th 1970, New York) was born into a Jewish family living in Dvinsk (present-day Daugavpils in Latvia, then part of the Tsarist Russian Empire) with the name of Markus Rothkowitz. He described his father Jacob as “a militant social democrat of the Jewish party […] profoundly Marxist and violently anti-religious”.
Born in Beijing on August 28th 1957, Ai Weiwei is a contemporary artist and political activist who has repeatedly and openly criticised the Chinese government’s stance on democracy and human rights. He has investigated government corruption, in particular the scandal of the so-called “tofu-dreg schools” in the aftermath of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.
Adel Abdessemed (Constantine, 2 March 1971) is an Algerian-born French artist. He began his artistic production in Batna before entering the High School of Fine Arts in Algiers in 1990. He left in 1994, following the assassination of the director Ahmed Asselah and his son in the school itself.
Born in Kilkenny in 1980, Richard Mosse is an Irish documentary photographer who currently lives and works between New York and Berlin.
He has worked in Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Palestine, Haiti and the former Yugoslavia, but he is best known for his infrared images from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
Born in Paris in September 1944, Christian Boltanski is an artist, photographer and filmmaker and is best known for his mixed media installations. He refers to himself as a painter, even though he has long abandoned this practice. His work is pervaded by themes of death, memory and loss, and he has created numerous memorials dedicated to anonymous victims and people who have disappeared.
Born in Hà Tiên, Vietnam, in 1968, Dinh Q. Lê fled the war with his family in 1978 and settled in southern California. He grew up in Los Angeles and studied Fine Arts at the University of Santa Barbara as well as Photography at The School of Visual Arts in New York, where he received his MFA degree.
Born in Warsaw on May 26th 1966, Artur Żmijewski is a Polish artist, filmmaker and photographer. He grew up under Soviet communism, in stark contrast to the simultaneous consistent affirmation of opposing ideologies such as capitalism.
Born in 1988 in Damascus, Syria, Rasha Deeb graduated in Fine Arts in 2014 at Damascus University, specialising in sculpture. Before graduating, she attended a number of workshops and took part in exhibitions .
Majid Adin was born in 1978 in Mashhad, in northeast Iran, and grew up in a religious and conservative environment. He obtained a Fine Art BA from University of Zahedan and MA in animation from the University of Tehran.
Born in Ivory Coast in 1993, Mohamed Keita fled from the civil war that was ravaging his country when he was 14 to start a seemingly endless journey through Guinea, Mali, Algeria, Libya and Malta, before finally reaching Italy in 2010, when he was 17.
Bnar Sardar Sidiq was born in 1983 in Kirkuk, in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, and grew up in Dukan, in the Sulaymaniyah Governorate. She became a refugee when her family was forced to flee following the outbreak of violence in March 1991.
Hassan Hussein Abdi - nicknamed ‘Yare’ - was born in Mogadishu, Somalia, in April 1979. He fled the war in Somalia in January 2009, following the death of neighbours, friends and relatives, and went to Kenya’s Dadaab refugee camps.