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Solace: Searching for Meaning in a Time of Distress - Exhibition by Iranian-American Artists in Washington, DC

An exhibition of work by four emerging Iranian artists: Guita Vafai, Sohayla Vafai, Hadieh Shafie and Hadi Gharabaghi.

This is an outdoor installation of works inspired by and in response to the Iranian diaspora, located in the MEI garden as part of the Persian Garden Series. Special Thanks to the following for their generous support and help with this event: David Chambers, Ethan Arnheim, Thom Peck and the Middle East Institute for their generous financial support.

Exhibtion Dates: July 27th-August 27th, 2004
Opening Reception: July 29th, 5-7pm
Artist Panel Discussion/ Talk: August, 4th, 12-1pm

Middle East Institute
1761 N Street, NW
Wahington, DC 20036

Guita Vafai, (Iranian born, American artist)
Adjunct Professor/ Montgomery College, Rockville, MD
MFA, University of Maryland, College Park, MD

"I don't live in my past. I carry the load with me. My intention is not to forget the point of origin, not to change the essential qualities. I see time as change, growth, and as a substance in which the universe is a process. I re-evaluate and make new comparisons to form new insights and new methods of reasoning, seeking the inherent potential in a system or structure to point to new systems of thought and behavior. Order has been created out of chaos, but order, when it reaches a certain totality must be shattered by new disorder, or by new inquiries and developments finding new concepts, recognizing new patterns. Through my work, I seek to induce an atmosphere of "utterance and silence".

Sohayla Vafai, (Iranian born, American artist)
MFA, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY

Currently exhibiting at:
National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington DC in the exhibition entitled: "Book As Art XV"

"My artistic dialogue forms it's own special pattern and vocabulary due to it's time and place. Depending on my feelings it may be white today and black tomorrow...
Today the emphasis may be on pure form and technique...
Tomorrow I may breathe politics and/or poetry into it."

Hadieh Shafie, (Iranian born, American artist)
MFA, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn NY / MFA, UMBC, Baltimore, MD

Immigrated to the United States in 1983, leaving post-revolutionary Iran at the height of war and political and social unrest. At the time of her departure, neither her nor her family knew that their two- week family vacation abroad would result in twenty-one years of living in exile, forcing her to leave behind everything but her memories.

"My experience of living in Iran as a child has proven to be extremely influential to my development as an individual and as a woman. The process of healing, from the trauma of having lived in such close proximity to danger can only be possible through acts of telling and revealing. I take great comfort in my memories of the past and the pleasure of creating works of art that will inspire my audience. Iran and the Iranian people and their struggle for an identity both as individuals and a nation, is the feul for my work as an artist"

Hadi Gharabaghi, (Iranian born, American artist)

Immigrated to
the United States in 1994 after staying in Pakistan for three years. As a film-maker and photographer his work is very much defined by his experience of leaving Iran, and living as an immigrant.

Gharabaghi identifies himself as a "familiar stranger", a product of globalization and a misfit. "I sought utopia in the Euro-American dream while living in Iran. Today, I have turned my struggling past into a nostalgic dream. I make art to remember the past, reconcile with the present, and find hope for the future."

... Payvand News - 7/30/04 ... --

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