Advocartsy | THE SPACE

by Intern Flaunt

Nestled within the streets of the Fashion District in Downtown Los Angeles resides THE SPACE by Advocartsy. Launched just several months ago, THE SPACE is currently home to The World is My Home exhibit. I stopped by on the exhibit's opening night to talk to the founder, Roshi Rahnama, who passionately explained the story behind its inception. THE SPACE is a permanent project that stems from an earlier Art Brief series, which continues to initiate greater awareness and understanding of Iranian art. Los Angeles holds the largest Iranian population outside of Iran, making it an important scene for artists to generate recognition - not only among Iranians, but in the larger scope of the art world as well. 

Upon entering THE SPACE I initially took it for a gallery, beautiful works by four established Iranian artists mounted the clean walls. Talking more to Roshi about her vision behind THE SPACE, I quickly understood why she was hesitant to label it as just a gallery. She sees it more as a permanent platform for Iranian artists who are dedicated to collaboration. For this specific exhibition Roshi explains, “I am continually trying to expand the understanding of what Iranian contemporary art means as a realm of expression. This exhibition further explores work by contemporary Iranian artists who are contributing significantly to this discussion through their unique experiences and are in turn, redefining Iranian cultural identity.”

I was soon whisked away to hear more about the unique lives and artistic explorations that encapsulate the artwork. The four showcased artists, Afsoon, Roya Farassat, Shahram Karimi and Dana Nehdaran, all express their Iranian identity within the broader context of their art. Although they draw on different mediums, forms and styles and express various ideas, the pieces remain in connection and conversation with one another. 


AFSOON

Currently working in London, Afsoon’s pieces are situated on the right side as one enters THE SPACE. Her work is a collage of photography, paintings, that portray her nomadic lifestyle and the melding of the East and West.

AFSOON. "FAMILY DYNAMICS" (2018). INSTALLATION VIEW.

Flaunt: Can you talk a little about the personal and cultural narratives that are expressed within your pieces? 

Afsoon: “I see myself as a storyteller and keeper of memories, be they my memories, or a shared collective one. I used my family photographs for inspiration and as the vehicle for introducing the stories. I travel back to my childhood and the country of my birth by recreating my memories and feelings via the collage and added pieces.” 


DANA NEHDARAN

Moving toward the back of THE SPACE, Dana Nehdaran's minimalistic yet striking pieces are hung. A well-established artist based in NYC, Nehdaran is interested in the history of iron. He brings this material into his artistic practice, exploring the relationship of iron in his art to the infrastructure of his homes in New York and Iran. He oxidizes images of the past by manipulating them through classical painting techniques, thus allowing them to fade into his canvas. Nehdaran writes to us, “beauty and strength won’t remain hidden for long, and as time continues, rust from the iron and verdigris from the copper permeate though the exterior surfaces that builders and artists will appl,y to reveal themselves to the world.” 

DANA NEHDRAN. "Fe26" (2018). OIL AND POWDER ON LINEN.


ROYA FARASSAT

Roya Farassat’s work discusses her experience moving from Iran to America during the 1979 Revolution. She uses acrylic and oils on both paper and canvas to create abstract works that showcase an exaggerated attention to beauty as well as the turmoil in nature. She strives to convey the way in which violence is portrayed in American media, creating a feeling of removal as we watch destruction unfold across our TV’s in the safety of our homes. This is a stark contrast against the realities of danger and corruption Roya faced in her own backyard while living in Iran. 

ROYA FASSAT. "WHEN THE SMOKE CLEARS" (2018).

Flaunt: What themes or narratives does your art revolve around? 

Farassat: “Themes of chaos in my work represent my otherwise peaceful world being suddenly disrupted by turmoil, violence, and drastic change. Today, we also experience a cultural narrative of violence glorified by the media to the point of desensitization.” 


SHAHRAM KARIMI

Karimi lives and works between Germany and New York. His paintings express the struggle many contemporary bicultural Iranians face having to negotiate their historical and personal identity through merging their past with contemporary form.

SHAHRAM KARIMI Untitled, 2015 Mixed media on fabric | 66 x 48 in

Flaunt: Can you talk a little about the personal and cultural narratives that are expressed within your pieces? 

Karimi: Each one of my pieces relates to a fragment of my memories and Iran’s national history. I utilize visual and conceptual motifs such as people, flowers, The Garden, and the idea and ambience of an Iranian village to bespeak the past of my birth city, Shiraz- the city of gardens and poets. Poetry plays a major role in my works as a creative and visual vocabulary. I expand on the rich traditions of poetry, which has been recognized as one of the most vital aspects of Iran’s culture. Through my mixed media approach I transform my outsider identity into universal imagery where art becomes the connecting visual language. 


ROXIE SARHANGI AND ROSHI RAHNAMA

If you want to learn more the unique history and culture shared through work of several of today’s most prominent Iranian contemporary artists, you won’t want to miss The World is My Home exhibition. It will be on display at THE SPACE up until June 10th. 


Written by Molly Simon