ICAExhibitions: 2024

Sheida Soleimani: no breath, no breeze

an image

Sheida Soleimani, The Blind Owl. Courtesy of the artist.


About the Exhibition

The Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art & Design (ICA at MECA&D) is pleased to announce no breath, no breeze by Sheida Soleimani. no breath, no breeze will be on view from July 12 – September 15, 2024, with a public reception on Friday, July 12, from 5:00–7:00 pm.

In no breath, no breeze Sheida Soleimani reconstructs her mother’s stories through tableaux photographs. Building theatrical 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.

Recurring motifs and themes are incorporated throughout no breath, no breeze, including references to the ancient game “Snakes and Ladders,” vegetation and fruit, and injured birds in the rehabilitation process. The assemblage of these and other symbols helps the artist depict the facts behind her family history and how the residue of traumatic experiences affects one’s body, mind, and emotions. no breath, no breeze considers the layers of intergenerational damage caused by geopolitical violence, how complex identities form, and how individuals and communities respond, react, and rebuild from trauma.

About Sheida Soleimani

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 theatrical 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.