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Rahmanifar exhibits in 2 New York City shows

Published on May 11, 2023

Rahmanifar exhibits in 2 New York City shows

Interpreting creation and the role of Iranian women

Afarin work

Enlightening #2, mixed media on wood panel, 36" x 36", 2023, from Rahmanifar’s “Unknown Women” series, will be on display at the SOHO20 show.

An Eastern Connecticut State University art professor has works on exhibit at two New York City galleries this month.

Afarin Rahmanifar, associate professor of art and art history, is exhibiting a mixed media work on the creation of light and water, in “Genesis: The Beginning of Creativity,” at the Jewish Art Salon’s show at The Interchurch Center, 61 Claremont Ave. (W. 120th St.) in New York City. The show opened May 1 and continues through June 30.

one of Afarin's works

Enlightening #2, mixed media on wood panel, 36" x 36", 2023, from Rahmanijar's "Unknown Women" series, will be shown at SOHO20.

Rahmanifar also is one of four panelists speaking at a discussion, “The Role of the Feminine in the Secular and the Sacred” on May 11 at 6 p.m. at The Interchurch Center. She also contributed one of five invited essays for the show catalog. 

She also is co-curator and an exhibitor in an upcoming show, “Iranian Women in Solidarity” at the SOHO20 Gallery in Brooklyn, opening in late May/June. She will have three pieces of work on exhibit in that show, which features 10 Iranian women artists from Iran and the United States. She is represented by SOHO20 and recently showed work at that gallery in “Bodycheck,” which ended April 30.

In the SOHO20 show, she will exhibit works from her “Enlightening” series, which, she said, are “stories of protagonist Iranian women and their feminine energy. The visual depiction of their stories translates to finding a safe and comfortable place for me as a woman.”

Rahmanifar grew up in Tehran and left in 1979 after the Iranian Revolution. Her work is “a celebration of women,” she said, from their historical roles to the power and identify of contemporary women. In one recent exhibit, her work blended images of Persian queens and Barbie dolls.

“My work is an expression of my life’s journey, integrating Persian heritage and 21st century Western experiences,” she wrote in an artist’s statement. 

“As part of my storytelling, I strive to depict a world where women have a strong voice to create positive outcomes within areas of knowledge, power, subjectivity and sexuality,” she said. 

Afarin Rahmanifar

Afarin Rahmanifar at an earlier exhibit of her work

In the Genesis show, she interpreted one of the show’s seven themes of the creation of the universe. Her work shows physical and supernatural, symbolic representations of the beauty of earth and the uniting or light and water, she said. The show looks at creation from the perspective of three religions — Judaism, Christianity and Islam — with differing but similar stories of creation, she noted.

In the panel discussion, she will talk about the woman as a central, strong character in the creation story. Eve in the Bible’s Genesis story or Havva in the Koran takes the risk of eating the forbidden fruit and influencing Adam to follow her. God giving humans an opportunity to live on earth reflected a profoundly positive, optimistic attitude toward humanity, she said, in contrast to the repression shown by regimes in Iran and elsewhere, she said.

“I’m integrating the concept of Genesis and the character of women and the historical roles of women,” she said.

Rahmanifar has exhibited her work, curated shows, and participated in panels nationally and internationally. She teaches painting and drawing at Eastern. She received her MFA in painting, drawing and printmaking from the University of Connecticut.

The Genesis show has two other locations in New York City, the Riverside Church and the Jewish Theological Seminary, but Rahmanifar’s work will be displayed only at the Interchurch Center.

Written by Lucinda Weiss