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Artists at Work: Ruth Owens and Sukaina Kubba

For this Artists at Work, ISCP artists-in-residence Ruth Owens and Sukaina Kubba will give presentations on their respective artistic practices and engage each other and the audience in conversation. They will be joined by Director of Programs Alison Kuo. 


Among the points of commonality between them, both Owens and Kubba left careers as highly respected professionals, Owens as a medical doctor and Kubba as an architect, to fully commit to their artistic practices. They share a passion for telling diasporic narratives with unexpected twists, and they recognize the power of craft, design, and specifically the use of pattern, as tools for better understanding cross-cultural histories.


Ruth Owens graduated in 2018 with an MFA from the University of New Orleans after leaving her medical practice of 25 years. She is represented by the Jonathan Ferrara Gallery, and belongs to the artist collective The Front, both in New Orleans. Owens’ work is concerned with contributing to and preserving Black archives, and uses personal Super 8 film references in her painting and video art. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Ackland Art Museum, North Carolina; Addison Gallery of American Art, Massachusetts; and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans, among others. Artist residencies include Joan Mitchell Center, New York; Vermont Studio Center, Vermont; and Studios at MASS MoCA, Massachusetts, among others. Her videos have been featured in the New Orleans Film Festival and the Patois Film Festival in New Orleans.


Sukaina Kubba is an Iraqi Canadian artist living in Toronto. She has exhibited work at Aga Khan Museum, Toronto; Centre for Contemporary Art, Glasgow; and Hilary Crisp, London, among others. Upcoming exhibitions include ​​Mercer Union’s SPACE billboard commission for 2023/2024 and a solo exhibition at Dundee Contemporary Arts, Scotland in 2024. Kubba is also a sessional lecturer in Visual Studies at Daniels Faculty, University of Toronto and served as lecturer and curator at the Glasgow School of Art from 2013 to 2018. 


This program is supported, in part, by Canada Council for the Arts; Hartfield Foundation; Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation; New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council; New York City Council District 33; New York City Council District 34; New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature; Sherrill Collection of American Art Foundation; South Arts; James Rosenquist Foundation; Joseph Robert Foundation; and William Talbott Hillman Foundation.