DC Arts Center Presents Once Upon a Journey Group Exhibition

By Editorial Team on January 14, 2020

Fri, 17 January 2020 - Sun, 16 February 2020

Image caption: Poems by Rumi Mixed Media on canvas. 49”x 52”
Opening Reception: Friday, January 17 from 7pm to 9pm

Featuring Iranian women artists:

  • Roya Ansarian
  • Sarah Barzmehri
  • Parisa Faghih
  • Rosa Fakhrai
  • Mitra Lore
  • Guita Vafai
  • Sohayla Vafai

Curated By Nancy Nesvet

Extending from the Caucasus Mountains to the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf, from Tabriz in the North, Western Shiraz, North Central Tehran to central Isfahan and southern Baluchestan. Iran is a millenia-old nation made up of many cultures and multiple stories.  Those cultures and those stories have been transported with six women who brought their roots to this country, to remember those cultures, patterns and surroundings and recreate them in their art.

Remembering reading the Books of Kings during her childhood in a small port city next to the Caspian Sea, Parisa Faghih was surrounded by nature.  Those natural materials and pastoral green became her heritage, used as material for her paintings. At University in Tehran, away from nature, she strived to find a way to express herself. Although she excelled at technique and anatomy, she did not see these as her art practice. Parisa found her artistic path in the stories from the Book of Kings and other sources, incorporating mythical symbolism. Parisa also writes beautiful prose which will be read at the exhibition.

Rosa Fakhrai is a photographer and video artist for whom nature also resonates.  Coming from a strong academic background and a family of PhD academics in Iran, Rosa was born at Horamabad where she spent half of her life, later moving to Tehran.  Upon immigrating into the U.S., she became a teacher who loves the sky, the clouds and the colors of the earth which attract her to take their pictures.  Her photographs of Yellowstone Park are the result of that absorption in the beauty of nature.

Mitra Lore, in the DC area for more than forty years is originally from Tehran, near Shemran, near beautiful mountains. Her mother’s family is from Tehran. Her father’s family is from the north near the Caspian Sea and her maternal grandparents moved from Azerbaijan to an area near the Caspian Sea, a vacation spot full of the sea and lush green foliage. Always good at composition, putting things together, Mitra now makes installations, and is particularly proud of her metal working and welding. She says, “I come to life when I am creative.”

Sara Barzmehri, leader of the group, is the director of Exhibit 9 gallery. With parents from Esfahan, she goes back every year where, in the square, people sit and make handicrafts. Influenced by the color of the soil, blue of the sky, the beauty of mosaic art produced there and the intricate artwork, she says: “Isfahan talks to me.”

Iranian-born Guita Vafai makes installations and book arts. An adjunct professor at Montgomery College, she finds new concepts and recognizes new patterns in her art, claiming to disturb order with a new disorder.

Soheila Vafai is the sixth artist comprising the group, which has worked cooperatively to also produce a draped canvas banner, and a painting recalling the colors of fall outside Sarah Barzmehri’s studio where they work together. The cohesiveness of the group and their art combining memory with celebration of past nature and present nature in their new environment comprises a beautiful show.

DC Arts Center (DCAC) is located at 2438 18th Street NW, Washington DC. For more information call 202-462-7833, email info@dcartscenter.org, or visit dcartscenter.org.