Born in Ahwaz, Iran, Samira Abbassy moved to London as a child. After graduating in 1987 from Canterbury College of Art with a BA, with honours, in Fine Art/Painting, she began exhibiting in London. In 1988, Abbassy moved to New York City to help found the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts Studio Program, where she currently has lifetime tenure and is a board member. Her work has shown internationally and has been acquired for private and public collections at many prestigious institutions, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and the British Museum, London. In April 2012, she was the artist in residence at the University of Virginia, and she has recently been nominated for the Jameel Prize.