Sheida Soleimani made the seven works collectively titled Coping Mechanisms in response to a prompt posed in early 2021, “what does fun look like now?” Beginning with composed still lifes about lockdown, Soleimani photographed birds she was rehabilitating, canned food from the garden, homemade spirits, books from the proliferating pandemic reading lists, and a zoom call with a family member. Juxtaposing these domestic pursuits are background images of mass graves of Covid victims in Iran, a mosque being fumigated for the virus, and tons of food waste resulting from the shutdown of restaurants in 2020. By widening the question to include global awareness and suffering in her response, Soleimani suggests that finding joy requires taking care. Getting personal for the first time in her work, Soleimani offers us humor, family, sustenance, shelter and rehabilitation as her “coping mechanisms,” for pandemic times.

 

Sheida Soleimani

Coping Mechanisms 2, 2021
Archival pigment print, framed
24 x 17 in/61 x 43 cm
Edition of 5 +2 APs
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Sheida Soleimani

Coping Mechanisms 5, 2021
Archival pigment print, framed
24 x 17 in/61 x 43 cm
Edition of 5 +2 APs
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Sheida Soleimani, a Providence, R.I., photographer, says she began doing “tedious but beautiful work, like picking dandelions from the ground, separating the petals from the calyx and putting them in an airlock-sealed jar with yeast to ferment.” She also began caring for rescued chickens: “Rehabbing birds definitely was a coping mechanism, but also a way to nurture and heal things during a time where everything has felt completely unhealable.”

Read on The New York Times

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Sheida Soleimani

Coping Mechanisms 4, 2021
Archival pigment print, framed
24 x 17 in/61 x 43 cm
Edition of 5 +2 APs
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Sheida Soleimani

Coping Mechanisms 6, 2021
Archival pigment print, framed
24 x 17 in/61 x 43 cm
Edition of 5 +2 APs
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Sheida Soleimani in her studio in Providence, Rhode Island (2020). Photographed for the British Journal of Photography. Photography by Cole Barash.
 

SHEIDA SOLEIMANI

Born 1990 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Lives in Providence, Rhode Island.

 

Sheida Soleimani was born to political refugees who fled Iran in the mid-1980s. As an Iranian American, she builds photographic tableaux that dramatize Middle Eastern geopolitics, satirizing the reporting of West and East alike. Her photographs often source imagery from popular media and adapt them to exist within alternative scenarios, including photographs, moving image, sculpture, and theatre. Like propaganda posters and art forms that emerge in times of crisis (Dada, Relational Aesthetics, Identity Politics), her works chronicle oral histories to portray events that have been shrouded by Western reportage, situating her practice and discourse not only in art, but also in political activism.

Sheida Soleimani received her MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art and her BFA from the University of Cincinnati, College of Art. Soleimani’s most recent solo exhibitions were Hotbed at Denny Dimin Gallery in New York, Harlan Levey Projects in Brussels, Andrew Rafacz Gallery in Chicago and the evolving exhibition Medium of Exchange that examined how oil is interchangeable with currency and the corruption at the center of the petroleum industry. Medium of Exchange traveled to six different locations from Edel Assanti in London to the Atlanta Contemporary, in Atlanta, GA. Soleimani is represented by Edel Assanti in London, as well as Harlan Levey Projects in Brussels. Soleimani has been written about in The New York Times, Artforum, Hyperallergic, The Brooklyn Rail, among many others. She currently is an Assistant Professor of Studio Art at Brandeis University in Waltham, MA.

Sheida Soleimani

Coping Mechanisms 1, 2021
Archival pigment print, framed
24 x 17 in/61 x 43 cm
Edition of 5 +2 APs
inquire

Sheida Soleimani

Coping Mechanisms 3, 2021
Archival pigment print, framed
24 x 17 in/61 x 43 cm
Edition of 5 +2 APs
inquire

Critique and Care: Sheida Soleimani Interviewed by Cassie Packard

Read on Bomb

Artist and Bird Rehabilitator Protests “Animal Cruelty” at LA Gallery
By Sarah Rose Sharp

Read on Hyperallergic

Fun can take many forms.

Produced by Jolie Ruben and Amanda Webster
Interviews by Raillan Brooks

Read on the New York Times

Inquire about work by Sheida Soleimani

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