Curated by Soheila Azadi
Featuring work by:
The works featured in the current exhibition, Burnt Generation, make us think about bodies in different places and stages. Bodies that exist in trauma, bodies that are censored, bodies that enact and perform, bodies that exist in private, bodies that are dislocated, and finally bodies that exist in our memories.
Although individually a memory cannot be censored by any authority, as places that locate and define a given moment in time they are highly politicized. In the here and the there aims to target the bodies that exist in artists’ memories; memories of childhood, womanhood, revolution, and war. The title of this screening is a borrowed phrase from a feminist analogist Khatarya Um, which aims to makes us think about Iran as two places; the place as it exists now and the place that exists in our memories. These two places present two separate realities which clash at times, and rejoin at others. The works in this screening focus on the latter.
Since Iranian identity is defined by history in one way or another, this screening draws inspirations from feminist theories that propose a departure from the victim narratives that surround the discourse on Iranian identity since the 1979 revolution. It instead focuses on the memories of individuals to encourage an alternative definition of Iranian identity; one that operates within the framework of the personal as political.
The artists featured in this screening use found footage, humor, abstracted forms of visualization, performances, and personal stories to contextualize what it means for Iranians to live, always, with the past and the present. In their works these artists approach memory as the literal act of recollection as well as a tool to realize, to visualize, and to remember. By juxtaposing images of Iran that exist in the collective memory with the “realities” of contemporary Iran, this selection of works present an Iranian identity in the 21st century.
- Soheila Azadi
Soheila Azadi is an interdisciplinary visual artist based in Chicago and Iran. Born in the capital of Islamic cities, Esfahan, Azadi absorbed story-telling skills through Persian miniature drawings since she was nine. Azadi’s inspirations come from her experiences of being a woman while living under Theocracy. Now residing in the U.S. Azadi is dedicated to transnational feminism with a passionate devotion to the ways in which race, religion, gender, sexuality, and ethnicity intersect. Azadi uses performance art and performative installations as methods to both materialize and narrate stories about women’s everyday struggle in the world. Her use of fabric in her works is deployed critically and sensually to amplify customs that serve to classify, separate, oppress, and potentially / unknowingly liberates those obfuscated by such a tradition. Azadi currently teaches at Oakton Community College while she is an artist resident at Hatch Projects.
Image credit: Shirin Mohammad, Still from War No. 2, from War Series, 2015