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Published on July 13, 2021

Anahita Vossoughi

Exoskull Series #1, 2021, 24 x 19 x 8 inches, Acrylic, Oil, Ink, Clay, Sand, Polystyrene and Fishnet on Wood, image courtesy of the artist

Surrounded by farmland, rural towns, big blue skies, large trucks and Wal-Marts, I grew up in Kansas, in a small college town. There wasn’t a huge Iranian diaspora community there, but my parents knew almost all the Iranians and Iranian-Americans within a 60-mile radius. Aside from school and work, we were often enveloped within the Iranian community. Most of the major events in my life such as weddings, funerals, birthdays and holidays were spent in the company of my parent’s Iranian friends and their children. Within the Iranian diaspora I was exposed to a multitude of experiences that I felt were often overlooked and flattened by the American media, which sadly continues today. As a group, the Iranian diaspora has very little representation in the United States other than the news, which tends to skips over any sort of diversity, and has a myopic, exclusive, laser like focus on extremism and religion within the Iranian experience. This is to the exclusion of any other experiences that could humanize the Iranian community within America and beyond.


Beauty and ugliness, softness and hardness, the brutal and the delicate are present in the line of verse that is the title of this show. Venom can be an antidote and a poison. Laughter is healing but can imply madness. Tears are a release of love, hate, confusion, anxiety, joy and vulnerability. The contradictions, loops and switching that Simin Behbahani weaves us through is a strategy I return to time and again in my practice with the goal of making work that can be seen through a social, political and emotional lens simultaneously. To achieve this ambiguous clarity in my work, I draw upon enigmatic forms and marry abstraction and representation through material juxtapositions. I’m interested in an experience that is unfixed, present in nature, and presents strength and weakness living side by side, in harmony and conflict. - Anahita Vossoughi