Oraib Toukan works across media in photography, video, text and installation, often using politics and current affairs as source material. She often presents wry and playful critique in the form of subtle interventions with institutions ranging from Wikipedia to Christie’s.
Her works tend to start-off from appropriating a singular map, document, letter, found footage or a photograph. She directly draws from real life instances where absurdity is, or becomes the form. For example in The New(er) Middle East (2007) she appropriated known topographical works and replaces their mere representational qualities with interactivity. She literally cuts up what has become almost iconographic territory based on a found US army map, into new strange magnetic forms for audiences to piece back together on a magnetic wall. Instead, even stranger new territories are formed by them. For another two years, and inspired by ideas of mimicry, she likewise coached real life experts into interviews, corporate presentations, and advertising proposals for selling whole nation states under a company called Nayruz Holdings.
Oraib Toukan was born in Boston in 1977 and was raised in Amman, Jordan where she has lived most of her life. She has interdisciplinary degrees in Geography and Information Systems (MSc) combined with Fine Arts and Photography (MFA) from Bard College. In 2008 she received a full two-year Fellowship Award from Jacob Javitz, as well as MAWRED, YATF, and AFAC production grants for work on trying Lebanon and Israel for food theft, auctioning off nation states instead of art objects, and re-presenting diplomatic gifts from Arab states to the people of Israel. In 2009, she was an artist in residence at Delfina, London and was also artist in residence that same year at Artist Alliance in New York city, where she has been based since 2007.