Master of Fine Arts
Art and Visual Culture
Exploring my Iranian and immigrant identity, this dossier investigates factors that contribute to the formation of my identity through the experience of living in a complex and repressive society. This dossier is composed of an extended artist statement, a case study of UK-based, Palestinian artist Mona Hatoum’s art practices, documentation of a selection of my artworks, and a Curriculum Vitae. In my extended artist statement, I engage with feminist post-structuralist theories to explore my identity as multiple, performative, and contingent. I also discuss how I use these feminist post-structuralist theories in my art practice to question the phallocentric dominant ideology of spaces I have lived in and to construct new desiring subjects. To bring nuance to my artist statement, in the documentation of my art, I present my body art practices as a process involved in the construction of my identity. With my case study, I explore the way Hatoum’s body art practices represent a state of being in the geopolitics of exile.
Summary for Lay Audience
Not all diasporas are the same. Not all female experiences of oppression are the same.The spaces I have inherited and now occupy have shaped my life in specific and concrete ways. As an Iranian woman who grew to adulthood in Iran and who now resides in Canada and the United States, I have experienced deep feelings of ambiguity with regards to experiencing different cultures and social expectations. Because my practice is body-centric, I seek to claim my body across multiple media of performance, video, and installation. I focus on the traumatized female body, representing it in abject or grotesque states, sometimes evoking an agonized or melancholic state of mind. I consider how my multicultural, individual body has derived its multiplicity from differences between the cultures of the West and Middle-East, as well as differences that exist within a single culture, particularly around gender and sexuality. These enduring feelings of ambiguity have both unsettled and politicized my daily life and helped to raise my consciousness about the oppressions I face as a woman. I have started to question where my particular experiences and practice fit within broader societal discourses and representations that contribute to making me who I am. In response, I seek to understand and investigate the construction of my identity as a woman as it has existed within traditional notions of family and conservative belief structures of both West and Middle-East. I explore my identity in the hope of calling oppressive authorities into question.
Tajalizadeh Dashti, Sepideh, "To Be Me: The contingency of the body" (2020). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 7596.
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