"UNRAVELING STORIES" is at Charter Oak Cultural Center 21 Charter Oak Ave. in Hartford until May 1. charteroakcenter.org
Afarin Rahmanifar moved to the United States from Iran
in 1989, because the Iranian Revolution had made life
too difficult for her and many other people, especially
women. Not long after she arrived in America, her young
daughter asked for something very American: a Barbie doll.
Rahmanifar realized the irony: to leave one country with
oppressive expectations for women in favor of another country
with a different set of oppressive expectations for women.
"No matter where you go,
this is a struggle," Rahmanifar said.
Rahmanifar, a teacher at Eastern Connecticut State
University in Willimantic who lives in Mansfield,
has a show up now at Charter Oak Cultural Center in
Hartford. "Unraveling Stories" will have an artist
reception on Thursday, March 26, from 5:30 to 7 p.m.
Rahmanifar's work takes its inspiration from different
images of women from the east and west: genies, Sheherazade,
Barbies and the dichotomy between real women's bodies and
expectations of women's bodies. "I construct images of female
identity associated with sexuality, femininity, politics
and the social aspect of the female," she said. "I call it
'Unraveling Stories' because I want to unravel and retell
stories of the female, living in oppressed society in eastern
culture, and targeted by social media in western culture."
Her Sheherazade series is based on her admiration for the
legendary Arabic queen, who was married to a brutal king
but who kept his violence at bay by telling him mesmerizing
stories. "She had the ability and the intellect to manipulate
him," she said. "I was really impressed with that."
Her Barbie series takes on "the hierarchy system reaching
out to the beauty image of Barbie," and her "Interchangeable
Heads and Bodies" series takes on expectations of what
faces belong on what torsos.
"There is no precise definition of what head goes with what
bodies... but we have a set mind about a female character,
this head belongs to this body," she said. "I want to reconstruct that set mind."
Rahmanifar's mixed-media works — which incorporate
painting, collage, drawing and wax — present her points strongly.
Juniata College Museum of Art Exhibit Explores Eastern, Western Imagery
Unraveling #4 is one of Afarin Rahmanifar's works on display at the Juniata Museum of Art through Sept. 12.
HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Combining the ancient tales of Sheherazade and genies with
iconography from modern magazine ads and Barbie imagery,
Iranian artist Afarin Rahmanifar will reveal a vision
combining Eastern and Western female icon imagery to
represent a perceived "feminine ideal" at the Juniata
College Museum of Art from Thursday, April 16 through Sept 12.
There will be an opening reception for the exhibit
at 5 p.m. Thursday, April 16. The reception and museum
exhibit are free and open to the public.
Called "Unraveled: Paintings by Afarin Rahmanifar,"
the exhibition is inspired by the artist's mix of
images of real women's bodies and the preconceptions
of women's bodies held by societies and individuals.
In essence, she combines floating, fading or disappearing
images to create new female form using parts of images
derived from cultures of the East and West. "My work consists of personal stories and experiences
abour female identity, which reveal the aspect of
'appearing,' disappearing' and 'reappearing' that is
situated within the mystical poetry of Sufiism,"
Rahmanifar says in her artist's statement.
Her use of diverse and dichotomous images helps the
artist create what she calls "hybrid personalities"
that relate to her image of herself as a Middle
Eastern women living in western society.
Persepolis: Word & Image.
William Benton Museum of Art at the University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT
From the "Recess of a Journey" Series
In the new year, the William Benton Museum of Art at the
University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT is hosting an exciting
exhibition: Persepolis: Word & Image. This exhibition is on
view from January 21 – March 16, 2014. An opening Reception
is January 23, 4:30-7 pm.
Inspired by both the format and content of Persepolis,
the graphic novel and coming-of-age memoir by Marjane Satrapi,
Persepolis: Word & Image draws from the Benton’s permanent
collection to present some of the ways that text and art
have functioned historically. Also featured are works on
loan from several contemporary Iranian artists, including
Pouran Jinchi, Shirin Neshat, Afarin Rahmanifar and Hadieh Shafie,
for whom text is intrinsic to their practice.