In connection with Al-Mutanabbi Street STARTS HERE DC 2016
At Olly Olly in Fairfax, Virginia
January 23-February 27, 2016
(Closing Reception: February 20,2016 with a performance by Eames Armstrong, 7pm-10pm)
About This Show:
Artists utilize the power of creativity as a potent force in the face of intimidation and fear. We stand in solidarity with artists throughout the world to confront censorship and oppression in the work of artists, and collectively, in our daily lives. Each artists’s individual practice is powerful and vital, an opportunity for the lion to bare its teeth, demanding freedom of expression and the free exchange of ideas for all.
We had the opportunity to speak with one of the show’s artists, Mojdeh Rezaeipour, about her art:
So To Speak: Can you tell us a bit about your work for this show?
Mojdeh Rezaeipour: This past year has been all about defining myself as an artist. My work has evolved from a light and playful cutting and tearing into a much deeper, more raw and intimate endeavor. In preparation for this particular exhibit, I found myself exploring a hidden chest of feelings about that very far away world, a place from which I’ve been bitterly estranged. Here, I have attempted to piece together or transcribe my personal truths through the appropriation of whimsical imagery and natural elements, juxtaposed against heavier, and often autobiographical themes. Each piece harbors a life of its own, one that is fragile and mortal, just like ours.
StS: Can you talk about your process for these pieces?
MR: I spread out over a large area on our living room floor with a mountain of collected materials. Magazine cutouts archived for years and years, photocopies of childhood photos and self portraits, a book of symbols, various mediums, a tool box, and several baskets filled with ever-growing piles of dried flowers, rocks, and shells. I often work on multiple pieces at the same time, so they all remain unfinished for weeks and weeks. It’s a mess, really. Aside from natural elements, I also really enjoy working with encaustic medium. I believe in art as a living thing, so the ephemeral nature of wax and organic matter really appeals to me.
StS: Your work in this exhibit is incredibly moving on both a conceptual and technical level. Can you talk about your training, practices, experiences in art that have led you to where you are now?
MR: My formal training is rooted in architecture, though I also completed a minor in art history while I was at Berkley. After college, I was lucky enough to work as a designer with some of the world’s most innovative young architects. I have also always been intimately surrounded by so much art and so many incredible artists- especially ever since we first opened the doors of Epicure in 2010. Observing and interacting with such a diverse community of creative people in the DC area has done a lot to fill my artist’s well, as well as providing me the support to get out there and share my own work. I am grateful for the opportunity to live in a world where I can experience freedom in my creative expression.
Mojdeh was born and raised in Tehran, Iran, and moved to the US with her family at the age of twelve. Since completing her architectural studies at U.C. Berkley, she has been involved with various facets of art and design in San Francisco, Rome, New York, and Tokyo. She currently lives in the DC area and works primarily with collage, encaustics, and natural elements in a light and whimsical exploration of darker subjects in today’s world. The driving force in Mojdeh’s life has always been that of human connection, which has in turn lent itself to a true passion for sharing stories, visually and otherwise. She is a Moth StorySlam Champion, has been featured on The Moth Mainstage, and currently serves as The Moth’s Washington DC StorySlam Producer. She also co-owns and manages Epicure Cafe – a community cafe, gallery, and music venue, home to hundreds of creatives in the Washington DC area.
Featured Image from the Show, taken by Holly Mason