“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. 

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. Her recent works center 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.

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 Amman, 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 ongoing work, Weaving a Home. Abeer was the production manager for the Iraqi artist, Adel Abidin, in Helsinki, Finland.

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

In the Fall of 2021, Yale University awarded Abeer an endowed professorship. She was appointed as the Louis I. Kahn Visiting Assistant Professor at the Yale School of Architecture, where she taught an advanced graduate Architectural Design Studio, titled Conscious Skins. Most recently, she was chosen as a lead participant in the Sharjah Architecture Triennial 2023.

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. 

In addition to numerous features, her works have been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, the Science Museum in London, the Museum of Applied Arts (MAK) in Vienna, and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. Her latest exhibitions include: 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).

Watch her TEDxKlagenfurt talk here.

Watch her Yale School of Architecture lecture here.

Photography: © Chantale Eglin 2019