Gema Álava (b. 1973 Madrid, Spain) received her Master of New Genres from the San Francisco Art Institute; a MAEd. from Universidad Complutense de Madrid and an MFA in painting from the Academy of Art University, San Francisco. Her undergraduate education includes a BFA from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid and the Chelsea College of Art & Design, the London Institute. Her work explores notions of trust, using language as a medium to investigate the interconnections that exist between public, private, educational and interpretative aspects of art. She has had twenty solo exhibitions and her work has been seen at these institutions, among others: the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; Queens Museum of Art, Queens, NY; Bronx Museum of Art, Bronx NY; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, NY; Rana Museum, Mo i Rana, Norway and MANIFESTA 8, Murcia, Spain. In 2012 she was appointed Cultural Adviser to the World Council of Peoples for the United Nations and The Smithsonian Institution nominated her artistic project “Verbal Interaction in Museums” for a 2011 SARF Fellowship. She was awarded second prize in Spain's National Drawing Competition, Premio Penagos from Maphre Foundation, when she was 22, being the youngest artist and first woman to achieve such recognition. She lives and maintains her studio in New York City.