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Arts & Culture

Art in the Mirror

New Exhibit at Stamp Gallery Explores Identity, Immigrant Experience

By Sala Levin ’10

“Dialectic of Desire and Denial”

Images courtesy of Sepideh Salehi and Sobia Ahmad

In one channel of “Dialectic of Desire and Denial,” the subject looks at her henna-stained hands.

In “Mirrored Re-Collection,” the new exhibit opening at the Stamp Gallery today, Sepideh Salehi and Sobia Ahmad ’15, ’16 use art to explore gender, national identity, memory and the immigrant’s longing for home.

The two women bring different life experiences to their work: Salehi was born in Tehran and addresses how Iran changed following its 1979 revolution, while Ahmad emigrated from Pakistan at age 14. What they share is an interest in understanding their lives as immigrants and women through art.

The exhibit is part of the university’s Year of Immigration, which encourages dialogue and action on issues related to immigration, global migration and refugees.

The Stamp Gallery is hosting an opening reception tonight from 5 to 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

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Sepideh Salehi, “Mohr Portrait” (2018, photography installed on wood panel with frottage on rice paper)

This portrait of an Iranian woman combines photography with a technique that uses rubbings done on rice paper. The resulting work is “my way to see the role of the woman in society,” says Salehi, who describes that role as one of “critique and protest.” Salehi created the black pattern that overlays the portrait of the woman by doing a rubbing of a traditional Shia prayer stone known in Farsi as a mohr, a small piece of soil or clay etched with calligraphy on which worshipers prostrate during prayer.

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