Ashley Khirea Wahba is an Egyptian-American artist working primarily in jewelry and digital media. Her work addresses notions of identity, ownership, reclamation, and resistance, often in conversation with memetics. She is interested in the role of reference culture and how layers of signaling manifest as a language that traverses URL and IRL.
Wahba traces the lineage of memetic cultural production through her craft and art practices, writing, and digital presence. Within her work, lines become blurred through tropes, cliches, irony, absurdism, and sincerity, calling into question the politics of taste and the role of the authentic self in an algorithmic hyper-corporate age.
Wahba insists absurdism and humor are coping mechanisms for feelings of futility within sociopolitical systems that often feel like they’re working against us. To her, humor, anger, and protest are interlinked. Methods like alternative engraving appear as a form of antagonism towards both traditional and contemporary jewelry, just as internet memes become a democratic threat to the cultural relevance of the white cube gallery establishment.
Beyond the studio, Wahba is an activist for decolonizing art institutions and for increasing intersectional awareness within academia.