Biography

Iranian-born artist Sara Niroobakhsh is internationally established for her performative and visual concepts that engage the globalizing feminine psyche. Working in video,photography, painting, and found objects, the inner dialogue of a woman’s duty versus desire is a theme that threads through all of the artist’s works. Her performance-based photography series, ‘Rainfall’, which received a Banff Centre Residency Award and debuted at Art Space Hamra in Beirut in 2015, illustrates the silent dance between the banal and the mystical that takes place in ordinary women’s work. In ‘The Party’, the artist’s latest installation at Gallery 44, supported by an Ontario Arts Council Grant, ritual becomes an artistic tool to engage Iranian archetypes of womanhood and social narratives of self. Using tea trays to reference the cultural workings of Iranian hospitality or ‹taarof›, the piece asks us to reflect on the simultaneous elevation and erasure of self that defines acts of service. Recent exhibitions of the artist’s work have been held at the Czech China Contemporary Museum in Beijing, the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts, and South Korea’s CICA Museum. A truly global artist, Niroobakhsh’s work evokes the feminine realm as she draws from the personal,mythological and cultural to originate on themes of beauty, isolation,creativity and fertility. Her current and upcoming exhibitions include the two solo exhibition Zaghareet at Varley Art Gallery of Markham on Summer 2019 and I, Saffron at Goldfarb Study Centre Gallery at York University on September 26 2019. 

Artist Statement

During my artistic journey, I have been able to accomplish many awards Even though my family wasn’t thrilled with the idea of working in this field, I attended the provincial entrance exam and ranked first place for graphic design. My career began at the age of fourteen when I attended a school that was specifically geared for graphic design. 

 However, due to a lack of facilities in the Southern region of Iran, I studied intensely to pass the national exam so that I could be admitted to a university that concentrated on the arts. I moved to Tehran after passing the exam and graduated with the prestigious honor of gaining access galleries, museums and artistic research centers so that I could become well versed in film, textile, and painting. 

 I took the National exams and ranked 3rd place in the entire Country; I was then able to apply for my Master's degree and attended my first choice university to receive my Master's degree. I participated in exhibitions that allowed the audience to think about global, political and personal challenges in the everyday life. 

 Soon I was teaching at universities and exploring the performing arts. I launched my first series of paintings: The Immigrant and had many wonderful shows. My artistic process borrows from the personal story, incorporates the feminine archetype and found art. 

 My work has been inspired by everyday deeds that are performed by talented women.By using regular household items, I often try to illustrate the dullness of everyday life that replaces other forms of existence for the women of Iran. I have observed the matriarchs of my family trapped in endless routines: cooking rice, weaving rugs,cleaning bamboo mats and whispering lullabies to their babies. Since my art is primarily social commentary that reflects the traditional social norms that repress women from leaving the home, I like to present these activities as performance art. However because of issues of censorship, in December of 2014, I moved to Canada. Since I have extensive knowledge of Arabic and Iranian art/culture I was given the opportunity to work as a curator. Working as a curator, I was able to build relationships with over twenty Middle Eastern artists by mentoring and consulting them in numerous projects which led them to develop successful careers in galleries and private viewing events in Canada, Lebanon and United Emirates.  

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