Art criticism

Iranian woman given ‘Einstein visa’ to come to U.S. despite travel ban — and she satirizes Trump

Artist Nasrin Sheykhi. (Instagram)

Bet this isn’t what they expected.

A 29-year-old Iranian woman received a rare “Einstein visa” that makes her exempt from the U.S. travel ban imposed on nine countries — and is using her time in the U.S. to satirize President Trump.

Nasrin Sheykhi was the recipient of an EB-1A visa — also known as the visa Melania Trump happened to receive during her modeling days — which is granted to people with a demonstrated “extraordinary ability” in science, education, and the arts.

To receive the EB-1A visa, her lawyer provided 700 pages of documents, including testimonials from other artists, and argued that her work was in the United States’ national interest because of its “potential political value of her resisting the theocratic interests of the government in Iran,” The New York Times reports.

She’s also resisting the current POTUS. Her four-inch high caricature of Trump resembles a wild animal and is stamped “Made in Russia.” But her talent extends beyond satirizing the current occupant of the White House. She’s created caricature collages of Michael Bloomberg, Amy Winehouse, and Keith Richards.

Born in the Persian Gulf port city of Bushehr, Sheykhi came to realize she and her brothers would be treated differently after moving to the more conservative Shiraz. “I could not understand the difference between me and my brothers,” she told the Times. “They were boys and I was a girl. I still cannot understand why there is a difference. Men and women are the same. A woman’s brain and a woman’s heart are the same.”

She showed a talent for caricatures early on in her time at Shiraz University of Art and Architecture, and a professor told her she could be a great artist — if she left Iran.

Now she’s in New York on a green card and showcasing her work in an exhibition at NoMo SoHo in downtown Manhattan. The title of the show? “Alien of Extraordinary Ability: the EB-1A Tour.” Meanwhile, the bellicose rhetoric between the two nations has been ratcheting up in recent days.

Read the full story at The New York Times. and see more of Sheykhi’s work on her Instagram page.

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