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عصيان REBEL

Nakisa Dehpanah

Oct. 2-Dec. 8


Artist Biography

Nakisa Dehpanah is an Iranian artist, architectural designer, and dancer. She spent most of her childhood hiking and backpacking with her family in the northern mountains of Iran, and her artwork is heavily influenced by her connection with nature and her cultural roots.

In 2016, Dehpanah moved to the U.S. to pursue master's degrees in architecture and sustainable design. As a designer, she strives to find bottom-up solutions, tell stories, and create sustainable and resilient designs for communities. As an artist, she seeks to illustrate her inner world and share her spiritual journey. Some of her most significant inspirations are Farsi literature, calligraphy, and dance.

Exhibition Description

"Rebel" envisions what happens when a person or society outgrows its limits to discover its true self. The exhibition’s title was inspired by Iranian poet Forough Farrokhzad and her 1958 collection, “Rebellion,” which protested the laws that constrained women's roles in Iran.

The multi-layered exhibition features Nakisa Dehpanah’s visual art alongside a video of her dance performance inside a moving, nine-piece structure. The performance features calligraphy from “Rebellion” as well as an improvised musical accompaniment played on the tar: a double-chambered, six-string Persian instrument.

Curatorial Statement by Audineh Asaf

As an Iranian American woman and artist, I believe in the power of art to illuminate critical issues and foster cross-cultural understanding.

Nakisa Dehpanah’s “Rebel” addresses the urgent and critical issues of social and political oppression, particularly as they pertain to the experiences of Iranian women. The exhibition opens just over a year after mass protests in Iran erupted in response to the tragic death of Mahsa Amini, who was killed by the Islamic Republic's morality police. Iran has admitted to arresting more than 22,000 protesters during this period, and investigations by Amnesty International and others have found that torture was widespread at detention sites. According to Human Rights Activists in Iran, more than 500 people were killed for their involvement in the protests.

In "Rebel," Dehpanah challenges the boundaries of art and activism. The exhibition marks a departure from her previous visual art, which primarily focused on graphic design, and features a structured space for performance. Her ability to intertwine visual and performative elements engages the audience on a sensory level and invites them to explore the intricacies of her message.

I invite you to immerse yourself in “Rebel,” to delve into the narratives it presents, and to join us in celebrating this important Iranian artist. After exploring the exhibition, I also encourage you to take a moment to learn more about the ongoing human rights issues in Iran and the voices that continue to advocate for change.