Sedentary Fragmentation

When 14 Jul 2017 - 25 Aug 2017
Where Heaven Gallery 60622
1550 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60622
United States

Opening: Friday, July 14, ​7–11pm
Conversation with artists: Saturday, July 22, 4:30–6pm
Performance by Yasamin Ghanbari: Friday, August 4, 6:30-8pm

Featuring: Hannibal Alkhas (1930, Iran), Mehdi Hosseini (1943, Iran), Raha Raissnia (1968, Iran), Azadeh Gholizadeh (1982, Iran), Yasamin Ghanbari (1984, USA), Nazafarin Lotfi (1984, Iran), Elnaz Javani (1985, Iran), Maryam Hoseini (1988, Iran), Sophie Loloi (1993, USA)

Curated by Kimia Maleki

In 1952 an Iranian-Assyrian student Hannibal Alkhas came to the U.S to study medicine, but decided instead to attend the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. There he studied under Boris Anisfeld, one of his most influential teachers. After returning to Iran, Alkhas helped modernize the pedagogy of painting in the School of Fine Arts at the University of Tehran, where he taught many prominent Iranian artists. In 1963 another young artist, Mehdi Hosseini, came to Chicago and enrolled in the painting department at the School of the Art Institute. Having experienced the Midwestern art scene, he returned to Iran and started teaching at art universities, becoming one of the pioneers of Iranian contemporary art. Though he is not heavily represented on the market, he is one of the leading historians of Persian painting and is on the faculty of the University of the Arts in Tehran.

After the 1979 Islamic Revolution, many families moved to the U.S to seek a better life. These families stayed and gave birth to children who are now second generation Iranian-Americans. A few members of this generation have chosen to pursue art and have been constantly challenged by issues of identity due to their dual heritage. Many have struggled against art criticism that uses their heritage as an interpretive lens for their practice, which raises the question: Why have art critics, curators and audiences persisted in identifying these artworks with a particular region?

In 2010, despite financial hardship and sanctions, the next generation of artists came from Iran to pursue their graduate degrees in American art schools, which had been an uncommon choice for the previous 30 years. The lack of Iranian artists in the Western art scene sets narrow expectations for these recent immigrants, who were forced to respond to their experience in a new environment.

“Sedentary Fragmentation” tries to bring together Iranian voices, generations, and alumni who studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, but whose practices are individual and different. This exhibition will show how these nine artists subtly use and reveal their identities in a politically complex milieu. Showcasing archival materials from the artists’ experience in both Chicago and Tehran, this exhibition offers challenging points of view about several generations of artists who are often misrepresented by having identities placed upon them that do not define them as artists.

Photo courtesy of the organiser/s

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