Portraits on view at Art Miami

We are ready for day three of Art Miami! This year, CEG is excited to be showcasing the work of ten artists at Booth A209. Today we will highlight three photographers whose work explore contemporary portraiture in collaborative ways: Omar Imam, Sandro Miller, and Bettina von Zwehl.

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Live, Love, Refugee © by Omar Imam (left) and My Hair, My Soul, My Freedom © Sandro Miller (right)

Omar Imam

Untitled, 2015 © Omar Imam

In 2012, Syrian activist turned photographer Omar Imam was kidnapped and tortured by a militia and only let go when a friend intervened. Soon after, Imam left Damascus with his parents and wife, settling in Beirut where he and his wife started a family. In 2016, he moved to Amsterdam, where he currently resides. His family recently received paperwork that will finally allow them to join him.

Live, Love, Refugee is Imam’s photographic response to the chaos erupting in his homeland. In refugee camps across Lebanon, Imam collaborated with Syrians to create photographs that talked about their reality, rather than presenting them as a simple statistic. As a refugee himself, Imam understands the loss and chaos of being displaced from ones home. But dreams cannot be eradicated — dreams of escape, dreams of love, and dreams of terror. These dreams are what Imam set out to capture. The resulting images peel back the façade of flight, to reveal the spirit of those who persevere, despite losing everything that was familiar. These composed photographs challenge our perception of victimization, offering access into the heart and soul of humanity.

Sandro Miller

You likely know Illinois native Sandro Miller from his years of commercial work, as well as his collaboration with John Malkovich for an homage series. In Miami, you will see six images from Sandro’s new series, My Hair, My Soul, My Freedom, a celebration of the diversity, artistry, and power of black women’s hair. Sandro states: “this project is about highlighting the many ways in which black women embrace their freedom of choice and express their creativity through their hair, no matter the style or texture, whether they wear braids, dreadlocks, weaves, or whether they wear it natural or straightened. With each portrait in this ongoing project, I seek to recognize and honor black women’s power and beauty while celebrating blackness and black lives.

“I asked each woman who sat for My Hair, My Soul, My Freedom to share her personal ‘hair story’ with me. Working with a hair stylist and makeup artist, I was able to achieve a style of hair that my sitter had worn, or would be willing to wear out into the world today. Each woman’s skin was depicted with the same black tone to emphasizes the beauty of blackness, and serve as an equalizer to remove the potential for prejudicial skin color biases, and make hair the focal point. Additionally, my selection of decorative backgrounds was inspired by and includes several African prints. Though some models received striking black backgrounds, I selected the colorful and vibrant patterns for each person based on their individuality and the shapes and colors in their hair.”

Sandro Miller will be available to speak about his work at Booth A209 tomorrow, Friday, December 8, from 1:00 to 3:00 pm during a champagne meet and greet, along with artist Gregory Scott.

Bettina von Zwehl

Bettina von Zwehl was born in Munich in 1971 and received an MA from the Royal College of Art (RCA), London, in 1999, where she now lives and works. She has built her international reputation on subtle and distinctive photographic portraits.

As her practice has developed, she has continued to seek out different ways of exploring the form; from her early works, most often defined by the exacting conditions she imposed on her subjects, to her most recent projects which reprise the tradition of the painted portrait miniature of both, people and dogs. Her ongoing pre-occupation with the miniature was inspired during her six months as Artist in Residence at the Victoria & Albert Museum in 2011. Bettina’s first Chicago solo-show is currently on view at CEG, through December 30.

Make sure you are following us this week on InstagramFacebookTwitter and here on Cyclopsblog as we continue to feature the artists of Booth A209!

Art Miami

December 5 – December 10, 2017
The Art Miami Pavilion
1 Miami Herald Plaza @ NE 14TH St.
Downtown Miami
On Biscayne Bay between the Venetian & Macarthur Causeways
Miami, FL 33132

Download a complimentary pass for Art Miami on our website here.


Wednesday, December 6 11am – 8pm
Thursday, December 7 11am – 8pm
Friday, December 8 11am – 8pm
Saturday, December 9 11am – 8pm
Sunday, December 10 11am – 6pm


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