This panel explores questions of queerness and diaspora through the lens of visual art. CSGS Visiting Scholar Dr. Andrew Gayed will be in conversation with acclaimed contemporary artists Alireza Shojaian, Laurence Rasti, and Sarp Karem Yavuz. Turkish artist Sarp Karem Yavuz works primarily with photography, light projection, and drawing. His work depicts gender, politics, religion, and violence in scenes of homoerotic Islamic art and visual imagery. Alireza Shojaian is a Paris-based, Iranian-born artist who uses painting and drawing to envision non-heteronormative masculinities to reflect on the queer history of the Middle East and the present context. Iranian-Swiss visual artist Laurence Rasti photographs queer Iranian refugees in Turkey as they seek asylum, illuminating the conflicting pressures that come to bear on queer diasporic formations.
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Laurence Rasti was born in 1990 to Iranian parents in Switzerland. She obtained a Bachelor in Photography from the University of Art and Design Lausanne, and an MFA from the Geneva University of Art and Design. Relying on her dual cultural background, Rasti looks at Swiss and Iranian cultural codes and conventions from a new angle in order to understand the influence of gender roles in society, and also the consequences of migration or the non-respect of fundamental rights. In 2017 she published the book There Are No Homosexuals in Iran with the Edition Patrick Frey and got shortlisted at the Paris Photo Aperture First Photobook Award, the Author Book Award of the Rencontres d’Arles and nominated as one of the 10 best photobooks of 2017 by the New York Times Magazine. Her work has been exhibited in various groups and solo exhibitions around the world, including ReGeneration3 at the Musée de l’Elysée in Lausanne, Disruptive Perspectives at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Iran Contemporary at the Fotohof Art Gallery in Austria, and the Tokyo International Photography Festival.
Alireza Shojaian was born in 1988, in Tehran, Iran. He is a painter and visual activist whose work challenges Islamicate societies and makes space for non-heteronormative masculine identities, reflecting on the queer history of the Middle East, the present context, and his own experiences. Shojaian finished his BFA in painting at Islamic Azad university, Tehran central branch, and he later pursued an MFA at the same university between 2014-2016. However, he couldn’t obtain his master’s degree because of the queer subject of his thesis and final project, and in 2016 he moved to Beirut where he had two successful solo exhibitions in 2017 and 2018. Shojaian currently lives in Paris and is the artist in residence at Dufraine foundation Academie des beaux-arts.
Sarp Kerem Yavuz was born in Paris in 1991 and raised in Istanbul. He works primarily with photography, light projection, neon, and drawing. His artworks explore gender, politics, religion, and violence. He is the recipient of international accolades, including the 2019 Leslie Lohman Museum Artist Fellowship, the 2016 Palm Springs Photo Festival Emerging Photographer award, and the 2013 New Artists Society Award from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In 2013, he became the youngest artist to exhibit and be included in the permanent collection of the Istanbul Modern Museum. His photographs are included in The Luciano Benetton Collection as part of Imago Mundi, in the permanent collections of the CICA Museum in South Korea, the JPMorgan Chase Collection, the Norton Museum in Florida, the Allen Memorial Art Museum and the Transformer Station in Ohio, the Polaroid Originals Collection in Berlin, and the Soho House Collection in Istanbul and New York. He has participated in over 30 exhibitions in Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Venice, Sydney, Amman, London, Shanghai, Dubai, New York, Chicago and Istanbul. He currently lives and works between New York and Istanbul.
Moderator: Andrew Gayed, PhD is a Visiting Scholar at NYU’s Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality, where he is currently working with Dr. Gayatri Gopinath on researching the artistic practices of the queer diaspora. Gayed obtained his Ph.D. in Art History and Visual Culture from York University where he received the Provost Dissertation Award, and holds an M.A. in Art History, and a B.F.A. in Visual Arts. His research focuses on Middle Eastern contemporary art and he is interested in contemporary art, identity politics, and migration/diaspora studies. Dr. Gayed is a lecturer of Islamic Art and Architecture, and he has published journal articles and book chapters on wide-ranging themes, including: Middle Eastern art, diaspora studies, postcolonial photography, museum studies, queer artistic practices, and global art histories.
Organized by the NYU Center for the Study of Gender & Sexuality