Sheida Soleimani, Amir H. Fallah
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Foresight Prevents Blindness

FNAR Gallery, University of Arkansas
01.20.2022 - 02.27.2022

PRESS RELEASE

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Foresight Prevents Blindness
January 20 – February 27, 2022

 

“The theme for the WHO’s 1976 World Health Day was ‘Foresight prevents blindness,’ which laid emphasis on the preventative measures against blindness.”

—World Health: The Magazine of the World Health Organization: Switzerland: WHO, 1976.

 

Foresight Prevents Blindness features a group of artists born in or connected to the region known as the Middle East. Geography is only one way of bringing these individuals together, but it’s a convenient one. Each artist wrestles with fundamental challenges facing a region always under the scrutiny of the world’s lens. Whether addressing inequality, gender stereotypes, or the concept of identity, each artist presents a unique perspective gleaned from a life splintered by cultural history and geographical bias.

Iraqi-born artist Wafaa Bilal explores the tension felt when occupying two cultural spaces: his current home in New York City and his birthplace, Najaf. Utilizing historical archives and expanded conversations related to a post-dictatorship world, Bilal highlights the realities of life under an authoritarian regime and the ongoing trauma of war.

Yasmine Nasser Diaz was born and raised in Chicago. Her parents immigrated from southern Yemen. As a multidisciplinary artist, Diaz explores the connections between personal experience and larger social and political structures. In works such as For Your Eyes Only, she juxtaposes disparate cultural references while weaving together threads of class, gender, religion, and family.

Amir H. Fallah, an Iranian-born American artist, works across painting, drawing, installation, and sculpture. Fallah highlights the complexities of belonging and otherness by employing elements from global ancestry: patterns, Persian miniatures, motifs from classic European painting, and American visual culture.

Alia Farid is a Kuwaiti–Puerto Rican visual artist creating videos and installations that give visibility to narratives obscured by hegemonic power. Even when filming an annual celebration—Nowruz Sayadeen (in English, Fisherman’s New Year)—Farid presents a melancholic portrayal. Through his lens, the island where the celebration takes place feels seemingly cast out of time—attuned instead to ancient seasonal cycles.

Jordan Nassar, a Palestinian-American artist, creates work that addresses the intersection of craft, ethnicity, and the embedded notions of heritage and homeland. Treating traditional craft more as a medium than a topic, Nassar examines conflicting issues of identity and cultural participation by using geometric patterning adapted from symbols and motifs present in traditional Palestinian hand-embroidery.

Sheida Soleimani was born to political refugees who fled Iran in the mid-1980s. She situates her work in both art and political activism, building photographic tableaux that dramatize Middle Eastern geopolitics and satirize reporting from both the East and West. Sourcing imagery from popular media and adapting it within alternative scenarios, Soleimani’s work can easily relate to other art forms (Dada, relational aesthetics, identity politics) that emerged in other times of crisis.

 

Foresight Prevents Blindness
January 20 – February 27, 2022
Fine Arts Center Gallery (FNAR), University of Arkansas
Fayetteville, AR

Visit Foresight Prevents Blindness website.

 

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