Revolving: a family tale is a multimedia exhibition that revisits the semi-colonial history of the Iranian Oil Industry by Sona Safaei-Sooreh. In part, it takes the form of a comic script, printed in traditional tabloid-size newspapers, attempting to compare the story of the nationalization of the Iranian Oil Industry with present-day political affairs.
The comic characters are inspired by cartoon drawing advertisements made by Ronald Searle for the British Petroleum company back in the 1950s. Safaei-Sooreh imagined a fictional life for Searle’s characters and illustrated the life of their grandchildren who live in our current era. The new propaganda messages were born from the initial British petroleum ads with a middle-eastern twist. Further, the artist puts together video footage from an interview with BP staff when they were expelled from Iran in the 1950s and a scene from the Walt Disney movie “Cinderella” to portray the imperial attitudes of the British subjects towards Iran.
Sona Safaei-Sooreh is an Iranian–born artist based in Toronto. She holds a B.Sc. from Azad University and a BFA from OCAD University. In 2017, she graduated from the MVS program at the University of Toronto. Her practice is largely concept-driven, and in many instances, it positions itself in discourses around literary theory, political economy, and institutional critique.
Safaei-Sooreh has shown her work nationally and internationally in venues such as hinterland galerie (Vienna), Art Athina Platform Projects (Athens), Zalucky Contemporary (Toronto), Artspace (Peterborough), Mohsen Gallery (Tehran), KunstraumKreuzberg/Bethanien and nGbK (Berlin), Cité internationale des arts (Paris), De Bond (Bruges), Harbourfront Centre (Toronto), Thomas Erben Gallery (New York), SESC Vila Mariana (São Paulo), Aaran Gallery (Tehran), and Parkingallery (Tehran). In addition, her work was part of a travelling exhibition called PROJECT 35: VOLUME 2, which has toured around the world.
Also included in Revolving: a family tale are several video works made between 2010 and 2014, highlighting the artist’s ongoing exploration of subjects on the economy, value inequalities, and sociopolitical conditions.