I'm an interdisciplinary artist from Damascus, Syria working between theatre, performance & film alongside other disciplines. I create work that unpacks, investigates, and interrogates the ongoing Syrian crisis, and it's effects on society. My work tries to challenge mainstream ideas on refugees, Muslims, and the Middle East through my own biographical experiences.
My solo video work and performance is of confrontational nature that aims to provoke emotional responses from the viewer, and attempts to get them to re-evaluating social and cultural norms of Eurocentric & Middle Eastern societies. My theatrical works portray the political realities of Syria through devised theatre techniques and interdisciplinary storytelling aesthetics inspired by global performance as a source.
My projects are often process oriented and the rehearsals are based on experimentation and exploring sources of research in a collaboration.
Conceiving credits include: Lemon & Oil (Pivot Arts Festival), Every Time I Step Towards Freedom (Defibrillator/Zhou B Art Center), Picnic Summit (Collaboraction’s Encounter), Ghosts of Freedom (Greenhouse Theatre: Trellis Residency), Frivolous Future (Art Institute of Chicago: Associates Night), Finding a Loving Motherland (Collaboraction’s Peacebook), Real News: Human Trash (Pop Magic Productions and Nasty Brutish & Short at Links Hall).
Collaborations include: In Progress: New Normal a project by Jonas Becker (MCA Chicago), Atlas Unlimited a project by Karthik Pandian and Andros Zins-Browne (Logan Center Exhibitions), On a Shore Rested a Body with Armin Hayrapetian and Divyamaan Sahoo (New Blood at Links Hall). Select directing credits include: Uzbek, Pureland (Silk Road Rising: staged readings), Mihbaj (Theatre Royal Stratford East, London).
Select performing credits include: 16-1546 Living Coral (GP01) by David Levine (MCA Chicago), Atlas Unlimited: Entr’acte by Karthik Pandian and Andros Zins-Browne (Graham Foundation), and The Locketeer by Catherine Sullivan (Trap Door Theatre).
Currently, Sami is an Adjunct Professor in Theatre at Columbia College Chicago, DePaul University, & School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is a contributing author to Deconstructing the Myths of Islamic Art (2022) published by Routledge, London, his chapter is titled "Deconstructing Myths via Performance Strategies: Experiences of a Contemporary Practitioner". As a teaching artist & educator, Sami was the teaching artist for the Community Actors Program at Arts + Public Life at the University of Chicago, besides leading several workshops & delivering artists talks at several institutions, including Harvard University.
Sami holds an MFA in studio practice with a focus on Performance at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and an MFA in Theatre Directing from East 15 Acting School, UK as a Said Foundation Scholar.