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Afarin Rahmanifar Solo Exhibits at Towson University

Published on March 04, 2020

Afarin Rahmanifar Solo Exhibits at Towson University

Professor Rhaminafar's exhibition “Women of Shahnameh” is on display at Towson University’s Asian Arts and Culture Center Gallery

Afarin Rahmanifar, professor of art and art history at Eastern Connecticut State University, is exhibiting her solo exhibition “Women of Shahnameh” at Towson University’s Asian Arts and Culture Center Gallery from Feb 13-May 16. This is Professor Rahmanifar’s fourth solo installation project. 

Professor Afarin Rahmanifar standing in front of one of her pieces in her exhibition, “Women of Shahnameh.”

Afarin Rahmanifar 

Inspired by Ferdowsi’s 10th-century epic poem, “Shahnameh” (The Book of Kings), Rahmanifar’s exhibition showcases the women in the poem. Through large-scale paintings and animated films, she features poetic scripts, bright colors, fragmented body parts and intertwined nude figures to reinterpret the classic narrative surrounding men and their domination of work in society. “I have found my personal voice by observing women throughout history,” says Rahmanifar. The goal of the exhibition is to show the essential roles the “Women of Shahnameh” held in supporting the success of heroic male characters such as kings.

After being exiled from Iran in 1979 due to the Iranian Revolution, Rahmanifar was shell-shocked by Western depictions and values regarding gender. “My artistic search as an Iranian-American woman goes on to set a female imagery from a very personal to historical view,” says Rahmanifar, whose work is based on the struggle's women faced decades ago and continue to face now.

Of all the women Rahmanifar depicted in her most recent exhibition, the one that stood out to her most was Gordafarid, the first Amazon in the Iranian epic. Entering the battlefield herself by concealing her gender, she sought to defeat Sohrab, a legendary warrior. However, Gordafarid realized she could not win the battle, but still impressed Sohrab, causing him to fall in love with her.


Rahmanifar pays tribute to the women in her art by presenting their names on the pieces alongside the men’s. By doing so, she provides credit to the women that allowed for male success.

Along with “Women of Shahnameh,” Rahmanifar has had three other solo exhibitions, including “Women of Afarin Rahmanifar” at Three Rivers Community College Art Gallery in Norwich in 2018; “Memory Between: Women of Shahnameh” at SOHO 20 Gallery in Brooklyn NY, in 2017; and “Memory Between: Women of Nobility” at the Art Walk Gallery in Hartford Public Library in 2017.

Future exhibitions include “Women in Poetry” at the Skopelos Foundation for the Arts in Greece and “Women of Shahnameh” at the Sacred Heart University Art Gallery in Fairfield.

Written by Molly Boucher