“I have a vision of communities empowered to cultivate their own wellbeing and dignity; inspiring practical living spaces in symbiosis with nature.”

Abeer Seikaly is a Jordanian-Palestinian interdisciplinary thinker and maker, who works across architecture, design, fine art, and cultural production. She founded Studio Abeer Seikaly in Amman, Jordan, in 2010.

Abeer’s practice is grounded in ‘acts of memory’: journaling, documenting, archiving, & collecting. She weaves ‘narrative threads’ from these memories.

Abeer draws inspiration from traditional knowledge in the Arab homeland. She views her practice as a social technology for cultural empowerment. She centers indigenous Bedouin practices, to recover the intimacy of handmaking. She travels to Jordan’s Badia (desert), where she engages in Bedouin women’s craftsmanship of textile weaving and tent making.

In 2002, Abeer received her Bachelor of Architecture and her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). After an architecture career in luxury retail design and mixed-use developments, her practice began to reflect her cultural context.

In 2010, Abeer was the director of Sunny Art Fair, the first contemporary art fair in Jordan. In 2012, she won The Rug Company’s Middle East Wallhanging Design Competition. In 2013, she won the first Lexus Design Award for her work, Weaving a Home. She was the producer for Adel Abidin in Finland.

In 2015, Abeer co-founded and co-directed Amman Design Week (ADW), a biennial initiative in Jordan that promotes local and regional design. In 2018, she established ālmamar, a cultural experience and residency program in Amman, Jordan.

In 2021, Yale University awarded Abeer as the Louis I. Kahn Visiting Assistant Professor, where she taught an advanced graduate Architectural Design Studio, titled Conscious Skins. She was on the board of Beit Al Bawadi. She was a lead participant in Sharjah Architecture Triennial 2023.

Now Abeer’s work, Constellations 2.0, is on display at the first Design Doha biennial by Qatar Museums. She also won the Design Doha Prize 2024.

A lifelong diarist, Abeer continues to ‘read backwards while writing forwards’ in order to surface and interrogate themes and narratives that echo her work and life. 

Her works have been exhibited at many institutions: Vitra Design Museum, Basel (2024); Hong Kong Science Museum, Hong Kong (2023); Science Museum, London (2022); Darat Al Funun, Amman (2022); The Miyake Issey Foundation, Tokyo (2021); Fundación Telefónica, Madrid (2020); MAK – Museum of Applied Arts, Vienna (2018); Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2017); and Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York (2016). Her latest exhibitions include: Arab Design Now (2024), headline exhibition for Design Doha in Doha, Qatar; Shelter (2022–2023) at CVPA Swain Gallery (University of Massachusetts Dartmouth) in New Bedford, USA; Re-rooting (2022) at Darat Al Funun in Amman, Jordan; The Year 2121: Futures In-Sight (2021) at The Miyake Issey Foundation in Tokyo, Japan; La Manufacture: A Labour of Love (2020) at Gare Saint Sauveur Cultural Institute in Lilles, France; and Radical Curiosity. In the Orbit of Buckminster Fuller (2020) at Espacio Fundación Telefónica in Madrid, Spain.

Her works can be found in multiple private and public collections, such as Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah (in Amman, Jordan) and Barjeel Art Foundation (in Sharjah, UAE).

Abeer is also a frequent speaker, panelist, and lecturer.

Watch her TEDxKlagenfurt talk here. Watch her Yale School of Architecture lecture here.

Photography: © Chantale Eglin 2019