The Edward Hopper House Art Center is pleased to present Where we are Standing: Contemporary Women Artists from Iran, an exhibition featuring the work of Golnar Adili, Roya Farassat, and Shabnam K. Ghazi. These three artists all grew up in Iran and later moved to North America (two to the U.S. and one to Canada).
The title of this exhibition is taken from a poem by the 14th century Persian poet, Hafez, which reads in part:
“Art is, at last, the knowledge of
Where we are standing –
Where we are standing
In this Wonderland
When we rip off all our clothes
And this blind man's patch, veil,
That got tied across our brow…”
Adili, Farassat, and Ghazi are all driven by different creative impulses and the results vary widely, but what they share are cultural identities rooted in two worlds and through their art, they show how they stand in both.
Golnar Adili’s (b. 1976, Falls Church, VA) work is a personal digest of her memories of growing up between two places imbued with diasporic longing. She moved to Tehran with her family in 1979, when she was four years old. Not long after, her father was forced to return to the United States for political reasons. Often referencing airplanes, family letters, Persian poetry, or her own body, Adili’s themes embrace a sense of yearning coupled with attempts at examining her identity. Adili returned to the United States to attend college and earned a BFA in painting from the University of Virginia in 1998 and an MA in Architecture from University of Michigan College of Architecture + Urban Planning in 2004. She currently lives and works in New York. (www.golnaradili.com)
For her series, A Mirror Has Two Faces, Roya Farassat (b. 1964, Tehran) paints ghostly “portraits” of women, often veiled and confined in an oval shape suggestive of a hanging wall mirror. As a girl growing up in Tehran, Farassat felt that women were always under the scrutiny of an unwelcome gaze. In these portraits, there is a boldness and defiance as the subjects seek to free their suppressed identities. The prevalence of the chador (or veil) in the paintings signifies, for the artist, a “barricade,” separating society from personal identity. Farassat moved to New York from Tehran in 1978 and received a BFA from Parson’s School of Design in 1986. She lives and works in New York. (www.royafarassat.com)
Shabnam K. Ghazi’s (b. 1971, Tehran) video and still photographs from The Astonishing Story of Us in a Scarcity of Time are an investigation of the patterns that our mundane daily chores fall into and the inherent disassociation experienced as a result of the continuous repetition of our actions. In the video, human figures blur with ants as they rapidly scurry across the screen and out of sight. This project is the result of over four hours of footage and 800 still shots taken in various places, such as south of Tehran, the financial district in Toronto, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Ghazi moved to Toronto from Tehran in 2001 and graduated with a BFA from York University in 2009. She currently lives and works in Toronto. (www.shabnamkghazi.com)
The exhibition is curated by Carole Perry and is made possible with support from Manhattan Cardiology and Medical Offices of Manhattan