On Thursday October 27th, I attended an artist talk that really opened my eyes to the side of a culture that is cloaked in bad connotation within the United States. Negar Ahkami is an American artist that infuses the Persian influences of her linage with her expressive Western influences in an attempt to shed light on a beautiful culture engulfed by misinformation and misconception.
Negar began her talk with an interesting bit of background information that I find incredibly inspiring. Prior to becoming an artist, she had quit her legal career. She felt pressured by her family's expectations to go to school for a "real" profession--and although she always felt like the black sheep in the family, she wasn't very rebellious growing up so she did what he parents told her to do essentially. I can connect with this so much--it is the reason I am actually an Economics and Studio Art double major. I'm only starting to make my own path and hearing her story instantly made me that much more interested in her work.
Negar makes meticulous artwork dealing with how culture can be clouded by politically fueled media representation--she spoke about how it became part of the fabric within America given the political climate. I would be lying If I said that, as an American, I didn't initially pull up stereotypical representations of what the media presents as the culture of those living in Iran. Negar even pointed out that the art world--one of the most liberal climates--had a very one sided view of Persian culture, and it was and continues to become a cartoonification of the truth in many ways. The work she showed in her talk was very satirical, yet intricately beautiful, because she felt like it was not right for people to have this misrepresented picture of such a robust culture.