Sheida Soleimani

Visiting Artist Summer Lecture Series

About the Artist

Through photography, film, performance, and sculpture, Sheida Soleimani offers a poignant analysis of image-building in the contemporary media landscape and a critical view of international politics and its power relationships. Source images from the press and social media are transformed into staged sets and documented with a camera. As unspoken truths turn towards the grotesque in confrontational and overtly patchworked scenes, Soleimani sheds light on the coded way (political) messages are disseminated in a global context while satirizing both East and West. In doing so, she unveils a barely covered-up reality that is no less surreal than the images constructed in her studio. A daughter of political refugees persecuted by the Iranian government in the 1980s, Soleimani’s practice explores the intersections of art and activism.

Soleimani received her MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 2015. She recently exhibited her work in solo exhibitions at Photoforum Pasquart (CH), Providence College Galleries (US), and Castello San Basilio (IT). Her exhibition Medium of Exchange was shown at Contemporary Arts Center (Cincinnati, US), Atlanta Contemporary (US), and CUE Arts Foundation (New York, US), among others. In 2019, she had a solo exhibition at the Southern Utah Museum of Art (US) and participated in the deCordova Biennial (Lincoln, US). Soleimani presented a monumental version of her work Mahsa (2022) at the Eyes on Iran project at New York’s FDR Four Freedoms State Park alongside works by JR, Sepideh Mehraban, Mahvash Mostala, Aphrodite Désirée Navab, Shirin Neshat, Icy and Sot, Hank Willis Thomas, Shirin Towfiq, and Z in 2022 and spoke at the inaugural event. Her work has been recognized internationally in exhibitions and publications, such as Artforum, The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Interview Magazine, and Hyperallergic. Soleimani resides in Providence (US), where she is a professor of studio art at Brandeis University.

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About no breath, no breeze

On view at the Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art & Design from July 12 – September 15, 2024, opening with a public
on Friday, July 12, from 5:00 – 7:00 pm.

In no breath, no breeze Sheida Soleimani reconstructs her mother’s stories through tableaux photography. Building sets in her studio, which she then photographs, Soleimani carefully researches and develops the forms, patterns, and symbols that represent her mother’s memories as a resistor to both the Shah's and the Ayatollah's regimes in 1970s/80s Iran. Through this retelling, the artist weaves personal histories, political conflicts, and accounts of defiance.

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About MFA Visiting Artist Summer Summer Lecture Series

The Master of Fine Arts in Studio Art program's Summer Lecture Series brings together an international roster of visiting artists, curators, and scholars to participate in the MFA Summer Intensive in Portland Maine. In addition to critiques and studio visits with graduate candidates, Visiting Artists deliver a lecture open to all students, faculty & staff.

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