November 2017 Artist in Residence: Parisa Ghaderi


This month we are welcoming Parisa Ghaderi as our artist-in-residence!

Parisa Ghaderi (b.1983, Tehran, Iran), is a visual artist and film maker who earned her BA in Visual Communications from Art & Architecture University (Tehran, Iran) in 2006, and her MFA in Art and Design from the University of Michigan (USA) in 2014. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally including South Asian Women Collective (Shirin Gallery, NY), the 6th International Media Arts Award (Queensland, Australia), ExperimentoBio, (Spain), A Woman house or a Roaming House? (A.I.R. Gallery, NY), Fadjr International Visual Arts Festival (Tehran, Iran), and the Red bull House of Art (Detroit, MI). Her work is featured in The Huffington Post, The Brooklyn Rail, Video Focus (France), hyperallergic, Detroit Free Press, Nineteen Sixty Nine (University of California, Berkeley), the Michigan Daily, Unite Women (online), and the Visual ARTBEAT Magazine (Austria). Her short film "Still" has been screened in Australia, Indonesia and the U.S. and has won an award from The International Film Festival for Documentary, Short, and Comedy, in Indonesia.

Q & A

Read our Q & A with Parisa to get some insight into her practice.

Looking on your website, you create in different artistic mediums. How do you choose which medium will be used for a series?

When I envision a new project, I usually narrow down to media with similar physicality and application. With small scale and quick mock up, I can see if the medium speaks to the concept. Sometimes it looks great on paper, but the material is not as forgiving or practical as I was expecting. There may also be some technical issues which will obviously affect the aesthetics. So, after trying a few things on small scale, I have a better understanding of the media and the way it relates and informs the concept.

Many of your fine art series are about moving from Iran to the United States and how your identity has changed. What reflections have you come to after finishing these series?

My identity has changed as an immigrant mostly because I think a huge part of everyone’s personality comes from language, something which I wasn’t fully aware of before my immigration. When you can’t fully and clearly express yourself in another language you begin to lose that part of you and become a totally different person. Funny people suffer the most, since they can’t carry that character through to their new identity. For me, dealing with text, language, accent and translation made me very conscious of the power of language, and how and when it fails to communicate and what happens as a result.

Through each series, I expose aspects of my personal struggles by raising questions about them and trying to find some answers. In that sense, my work is a deep exploration of my internal conflicts. Even more, I am attempting to find closure in things I can’t understand and digest in real life, such as loss of a loved one, or emotional distance.Most of the time, this reflection comes from different responses I receive from the audience while they’re interacting with my work; hearing their stories, struggles and challenges, makes me feel that I can no longer see myself alone in a specific situation.

What pushes you to keep on creating work?

My work provides for me a homely feeling. It’s very comforting and liberating to create work through which I can express myself while reaching out to others.For me, the ability to connect with the audience is motivating enough to continue creating. It’s always a relief to translate my struggles into visuals; something which is more relatable and longer remembered.

This will be your third residency, which is pretty incredible! What have you learned from the Red Bull House of Art residency and the Ox-Bow School of Art residency that you’ll be bringing to LATITUDE?

Attending Red Bull HOA allowed me to get to know the local community of Detroit artists while providing a large, diverse crowd as the audience for the final presentation of my work. At this tremendously unique experience, I worked on a mixed-media installation (10’x4’) which later was entered into the Artprize7 exhibited at the Grand Rapids Art Museum. The technique was photo transfer on canvas, where I juxtaposed banal objects with vintage Persian photographs. At Ox-Bow, I created images in enamel, benefitting from the technique to create an installation about immigration using my passport notes and stamps. Each residency has prepared me to work with, what was at the time, unfamiliar media to push my skills and abilities to new heights. My intention is to do the very same at LATITUDE.

What will you be working on during your residency at LATITUDE?

For Latitude, I will be experimenting with photo manipulation, either physical or digital, and see how far I can push it beyond photography while benefiting from the lab facility to its fullest. I will be working on a series, combination of bad, blurry and repetitive photos of the same event. The event being my trip to Chicago with 16 other friends. During the trip, I was observant of people’s body language, levels of intimacy, and their engagement with the group. It showed me the different sides of their personalities, itself extremely fascinating.

Are there any fun facts that you’d like to share with our community about yourself?

  • I usually come up with great ideas while I swim.

  • I don’t like baking since I have to measure everything!

  • I can never go on a diet.

  • I have replaced milk chocolate with dark chocolate to justify my craving.

  • I can be a better navigator than google map, if you trusted me.

Are there any current movies, books, magazines, or podcasts that you recommend for people to check out about art and/or photography?

I recently watched The Suspended Step of the Stork, directed by Theodoros Angelopoulos, and absolutely loved it. It was very poetic and inspiring in every beautifully composed frame with the simultaneous background of extremely moving music. I had to pause several times while watching it to reflect while taking notes. I also love biographical movies about artists such as the famed “Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present,” “Waste Land,” and “AI WEIWEI: NEVER SORRY.” Like retrospective exhibitions, it gives me a thorough understanding of their life as an artist.

Since I have become fascinated by filmmaking, I enjoyed reading The Skin of the Film: Intercultural Cinema, Embodiment, and the Senses by Laura Marks. I also love the work of Annette Kuhn, especially “Family Secrets: Acts of Memory and Imagination.” There is also a book by the French anthropologist, Marc Augé, Non-Places which gave me a new understanding of transitional spaces.


View Parisa's website for more information on her practice  and images of her work. 


AIR 2017Colleen Keihm