Lamia Maria Abillama was born to Lebanese-Brazilian parents, in a family with a strong political legacy. She grew up in the shadow of Lebanonʼs 1975-90 civil war, ultimately leaving Beirut to pursue advanced legal and diplomacy studies at the Sorbonne in Paris and then at Boston's Tufts University at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. But she soon found that Photography and the Arts were her true calling.
After graduating from New York's International Center for Photography in 2006, she embarked on a series of portraits. The first one, inspired by a visit to her Brazilian grandmother, depicts the world of Rio de Janeiroʼs Society Ladies. The ʻLadiesʼ series received considerable attention and led to several important assignments from leading publications, including New York Magazine, Fortune and the New York Times, which commissioned her to photograph portraits of high-profile individuals.
In contrast to the sheltered lives of Brazilian society ladies, her second series ʻClashing Realitiesʼ attempts to portray the breakdown of the lives of a range of Lebanese women in the context of a chaotic country plagued by years of war. Who is to blame for the conflict? Without siding with anyone, Abillama photographs Lebanese politicians in an unusual and daring light.
The series have variously been exhibited in Germany at the Für Kunst und Gewerbe Museum of Hamburg (2014), in France (Paris Photo, 2014, 2013, 2011 and 2009), in Dubai (Art Dubai International Fair, 2013), the United States (Fotofest Houston Biennial, 2012), Belgium (2012), Italy and Lebanon and have won prizes and finalist places at international competitions, including the New York Photo Awards in the Fine Art category (2008), the International Photo Awards in the Fine Art, Portrait and Lifestyle category (2009), the London International Creative Competition (2009) and the Lucie Awards in the Deeper Perspective category (2009).
Abillama's work was also selected by reviewer Felix Hoffmann, C|O Berlin, as one of the leading ten works at the FotoFest 2010 Houston Biennial and selected among the 20 photographers to watch in 2013 by the British Journal of Photography. Her work is now part of the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, of the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York, of the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe in Hamburg and in private collections.
Lamia Abillama is represented by the Tanit Gallery in Munich.