Susan Hefuna

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Susan Hefuna
Born1962 (age 60–61)
Berlin, Germany

Susan Hefuna (Arabic: سوزان حفونه[1]) is a German-Egyptian visual artist.[2] She works in a variety of media, including drawing, photography, sculpture, installation, video and performance. She lives and works between Cairo, Egypt and Germany.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Hefuna was born in Berlin, Germany in 1962[4] to an Egyptian father and a German mother.[2] Hefuna spent the first eight years of her life in Egypt, and later moved to Graz, Austria, to be closer to her mother's family.[2] In 1992, she attained a post-graduate degree from the Institute for New Media at the Städelschule in Frankfurt, Germany under Peter Weibel.

Hefuna connects her Egyptian and German roots in her work, using the urban imagery, typography and traditions of both to build a bridge between the two cultures.[5]


Hefuna's drawings generally employ Indian ink for works consisting of more than one layer; for works of a single layer she usually uses watercolor.[6]

A recurring theme in her work is the mashrabiya screen, the wooden or stone lattice-work screen that features in traditional Egyptian architecture.[7]

These screens first appeared in Hefuna's drawings in 1990 and her photographs taken with a pinhole camera. In 2008 Hefuna had a solo exhibition of her work, entitled On the Edgware Road, at the Serpentine Galleries, which drew heavily from the recent Arab Spring uprisings.[8] In 2009 around 300 of her ink and pencil drawings on layered tracing paper were exhibited in the Giardini and the Arsenale venues at Fare Mondi, at the 53rd Venice Biennale.[9] Her projects are documented in the Trilogy Pars Pro Toto by editor Hans Ulrich Obrist published by Kehrer.[5]


Hefuna's work was shown on several occasions in the UK: starting at Bluecoat Gallery in Liverpool (2004), and with Rose Issa Projects (2008-2014) in 2014 in the "Here and Elsewhere" exhibition at the New Museum in New York.[10] Her work has also been exhibited at the Sharjah Biennale, in the Townhouse Gallery in Cairo, and in venues in London, Brussels, Vienna, Beirut, Dubai and Istanbul.[5]


In a review of Hefuna's exhibition, "Navigation X Cultural," at the South African National Gallery in Cape Town, Tracy Murinik said, "Hefuna articulates a complex web of physical references in her construction of this immense and quite astonishing palmwood structure," and praised her "immaculately dense drawings" and "bold digital prints and photographs."[11]


In 1998, Hefuna was awarded the International Award at the Cairo Biennial.[12] In 2013 she was awarded the Contemporary Drawing Prize by the Daniel and Florence Guerlain Foundation in Paris.[13]

Art market[edit]

Hefuna is currently represented by Pi Artworks in London and Istanbul[14] and the Rhona Hoffman Gallery in Chicago.[15]


  1. ^ Hefuna, Susan; Obrist, Hans Ulrich (2009). سوزان حفونه (in Arabic). Consortium Book Sales & Dist. ISBN 9783868280555.
  2. ^ a b c Hanson, Sarah P. "Susan Hefuna Uses Simple Strategy to Create Perspective-Changing Works", ArtInfo, Retrieved 28 December 2014.
  3. ^ "Susan Hefuna", Artspace, Retrieved 28 December 2014.
  4. ^ Phaidon Editors (2019). Great women artists. Phaidon Press. p. 178. ISBN 978-0714878775. {{cite book}}: |last1= has generic name (help)
  5. ^ a b c Ed. Obrist, Hans Ulrich (2008). "Susan Hefuna/ Pars pro Toto". Kehrer Verlag, Germany.
  6. ^ Tayfun Belgin, "Actions in Space: The Drawings of Susan Hefuna," Susan Hefuna, Buildings, Osthaus Museum, Oslo, 2014,
  7. ^ Cornelia H. Butler; M. Catherine de Zegher (31 December 2010). On Line: Drawing Through the Twentieth Century. The Museum of Modern Art. pp. 112–. ISBN 978-0-87070-782-7. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  8. ^ "On the Edgware Road", Serpentine Galleries, Retrieved 28 December 2014.
  9. ^ "Vita" Archived 2017-06-28 at the Wayback Machine, Susan Hefuna, Retrieved 28 December 2014.
  10. ^ Holland Cotter, "Far From Home, An Arab Summer," The New York Times, July 17, 2014
  11. ^ Tracy Murinik, "Susan Hefuna," Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art, No. 13/14, Spring/Summer 2001, Duke University Press, p. 127
  12. ^ "Susan Hefuna: CV", Brooklyn Museum, Retrieved December 28, 2014.
  13. ^ "Susan Hefuna wins the 2013 Drawing Prize of the Daniel and Florence Guerlain Contemporary Art Foundation", Art Agenda, Retrieved 28 December 2014.
  14. ^ Esman, Abigail R. ""Istanbul's Mary Boone," Yesim Turanli, Opens Pi Artworks Branch In London". Blouin Artinfo. Retrieved 29 March 2014.
  15. ^ Elifritz, Pat (22 May 2012). "Review: Susan Hefuna/Rhona Hoffman Gallery". Newcity Art, Chicago. Retrieved 22 May 2012.

Further reading[edit]

  • Leonhard Emmerling: Susan Hefuna: The Discreet Charm of Assimilation. In: Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art. Fall issue, Duke University Press, 2001.
  • Tracy Murinik: Susan Hefuna: Celebrate Life. In: Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art. summer issue, Duke University Press, 2001.
  • Rose Issa in conversation with Susan Hefuna. In 'Susan Hefuna: X Cultural Codes', Kehrer Verlag, Heidelberg, 2004.
  • Lisa Ball-Lechgar: Mind The Gap – Susan Hefuna. In: Canvas magazine, Dubai, 2007.
  • Aida Eltorie: Susan Hefuna: Creating the Dream Space. In: Contemporary Practices magazine, Dubai, 2009.
  • Mark Rappolt: Susan Hefuna: Everything is Drawing. In: Art Review. issue 46, London 2010.
  • Bettina Mathes: Susan Hefuna: Corporeal Map. In: Flash Art. winter issue Nr. 275, Milan, 2010.
  • Reinhard Ermen: Susan Hefuna: Zeichnen zur Zeit. In: Kunstforum International, issue 208, Germany, 2011.
  • Sarah P. Hanson: Susan Hefuna: An artist pivots between cultures. In: Modern Painters issue November, New York, 2012.
  • Bettina Mathes: Traces of You, Universes in universe – World of Art.
  • Brett Littman: On Susan Hefuna's "Brilliant" Art, Artspace, 2013.
  • Ed. Tayfun Belgin: Susan Hefuna. Buildings. Osthaus Museum. ISBN 978-3868285604, Germany, 2014.
  • Museum Villa Stuck Munich: Common Grounds. Pub. by Hatje Cantz. ISBN 978-3-7757-3967-2, Germany, 2015.