— 5 Min Read —

Homa Shojaie, Artist in Residence 2023

— 5 Min Read —

Homa Shojaie, Artist in Residence 2023

“دل هر ذره را که بشکافی
آفتابیش در میان بینی
هاتف اصفهانی

If you split the heart of every particle,

You will see a sun in its center.”

Hatef Esfahani

The Museum of Contemporary Cuts (MoCC) in 2023 — as part of “Students as Researchers: Creative Practice and University Education,” a Collateral Event organized by the New York Institute of Technology, School of Architecture and Design, approved by Leslie Lokko, curator of the Venice Architecture Biennale 2023 — is hosting Homa Shojaie as artist in residence from January to December 2023. The artist is one of a group of 12 international artists presenting a mobile exploration of the crisis of water. The curatorial project conceived by Lanfranco Aceti will be a long-term investigation into the elemental crisis of water, earth, wind, and fire. The artists will explore, according to their own personal aesthetic approaches and cultural underpinnings, the elemental crisis of water, its impact, and the consequences of the alterations of its mythologies and poetics. The curatorial brief, titled What If This Were The Case? – The Waters We Are In, is inspired by the meaning of ‘case’: building up a legal case as well as a case being a piece of luggage. The international sharing of knowledge, understanding, and interpretations of the current crises are paramount to resuscitate old mythologies and cultural postulates — or to develop new ones — truly inspired by communal structures of surviving, living, and possibly even thriving.

Artist’s Bio

Born in Iran, Homa Shojaie’s work is concerned with space and image and their intersection with materiality and perception. She received a Bachelor of Architecture from The Cooper Union in NYC and an MA in Fine Arts from LaSalle College of the Arts in Singapore. She has taught at Pratt Institute, Illinois Institute of Technology, School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Lasalle College of the Arts. She has been a visiting artist at Arts Letters and Numbers, an emergent structure opening spaces within broad human and disciplinary geographies for people and their works to listen to each other and listen to the world.  She has exhibited in Chicago, New York, Detroit, Izmir, Kashan, and Singapore. About her artistic practice she writes: “I make art to know myself, resolve my conflicts, understand mysteries, and capture the light that is inherent in any act of knowing. I try not to look at things but instead to look into the space of things.” Her work moves between disciplines of education, architecture, painting, textile, and film and is concerned with the unforeseen image and essence that become revealed through the act of making.

Works of Art

Artist’s Video

Artist’s Statement

Girl enters the frame. There are two groups of people lying and sitting by the riverbed, the Iranian moment of Manet’s Luncheon on the Grass. What is She? A creature with a suitcase. There is only one thing we know: She moves in the direction of water’s flow even when crossing it. She carries with her all the oceans she has snorkelled in. “Snorkel” is such an awkward word for such an exquisite action. She is collecting water vibes from the river flowing in Darakeh, a village near Tehran. The suitcase she is carrying was a gift to her father from her mother’s mother. Her grandmother had given her father the suitcase when her mom and dad were marrying. It was filled with gifts for him: a shirt, a tie, a set of pyjamas, a pair of slippers, and a shaving kit. She thinks about Duchamp and the bride and the bachelors and the suitcase. She remembers her dad with this suitcase going on short trips but her mom says they have never used it in that way. Her parents went to Venice years ago; in her imagination they had taken this suitcase with them. She wanted to send gifts to Venice like the old days when the three wise men took gifts for Christ. She remembers a statue of Mary in Venice with tears coming down her eyes but when she searched her photos, she did not find the image. She wanted to fill the suitcase with water drops for all the crying saints in Italy. The water drops are made out of frayed canvas in the manner that she had been making suns for the past eight years. Now she will make drops and fill the suitcase with them for all the humans that have shed a tear. The droplets remind her of her aquamarine earrings that she loved so much and mysteriously lost. They were the second pair of aquamarine earrings that she had lost. Her cousin is getting married this summer. Her name is Maryam and she has a son with bright blue eyes. The wedding is by the sea on an Island. Her gift will be a pair of aquamarine earrings. Gifts are magical. You never know how they will be received. To fill up the suitcase with drops of canvas with their flowing rays reminds me of a treasure chest, an old trunk with the lid open, overflowing with pearls, gold, rubies, emeralds and sapphires. I will make single drops, double drops, triple drops, a string of drops, and a halo of teardrops for all the Mary statues I have loved, for Anahita, Aphrodite, Venus, and Zahra, for all the gods and goddesses of water in the whole wide world. Venice is a gift herself. Once you go to Venice, you are changed; I am collecting all the light particles that reside in Darakeh and sending it to Venice with love…

Homa Shojaie June 15, 2023

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