Compare & contrast

3 Iranian women artists explore their linked origins in distinct mediums

Golnar Adili, "The King-Seat of My Eye Is The Place of Repose For The Thought of You," 2010. (Courtesy of the Artist)

An exhibition “Where We Are Standing: Contemporary Artists from Iran” is showing the work of three women who grew up in Iran and now live in North America, and examines how a life lived in two opposing cultures has shaped their creative output.

Roya Farassat, 51, lives in Manhattan, having left Iran as a teenager in 1978, ahead of the Islamic Revolution. At much the same time, Golnar Adili (now 39, then 4) was making a reverse journey — returning to Iran with her activist parents, to support the Revolution. With the rise of Ayatollah Khomeini, Adili’s father was forced to flee, leaving her and her mother behind. She only moved back to the U.S. in 1994, for college. The third artist, Shabnam K.Ghazi, 44, now resides in Toronto, where she migrated to from Tehran in 2001.

Farassat’s paintings portray women in chadors, “in need of identity and who question their personal, sexual and political freedom,” she told The New York Times. Adili’s layered, mixed-media works also engage with the idea of being obscured, by abstracting her subjects through cutting her images into thousands of tiny pieces before re-assembling them into grids and strips.

Ghazi’s video work includes footage shot in Toronto, New York and Tehran, demonstrating similarities between the people caught on camera, more than contrasts. “Wherever you go, the sky is the same color,” she said, citing a Persian proverb.

“Where We Are Standing: Contemporary Artists from Iran” is on at the Edward Hopper House Art Center, in Nyack, New York.

Read the full story at The New York Times.

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