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Oklahoma Visual Arts Fellowships 2012 by Tiffany Barber

Angela Piehl, Stillwater, Chandelier, White pencil on black paper, 38” x 56”

Each year, the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition awards four individual artists for outstanding vision in two categories: Oklahoma Visual Arts Fellowships and Student Awards of Excellence. A guest curator chooses the awardees from applications submitted by artists. This year’s Fellowship recipients are Matthew Boonstra and Angela Piehl, both from Stillwater. Tara Najd Ahmadi and Jessica Tankersley, both from Norman, received this year’s Student Awards of Excellence. This year’s guest curator is Allison Peters Quinn, Director of Exhibitions at Hyde Park Art Center in Chicago. The year was 1979 and Iran was in the throes of revolution, torn between various expressions of imperialism. There was a distinct rift between the autocratic Pahlavi monarchy, supported by propertied capitalist

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classes, military and police; and working and middle classes who favored Muslim clergy, particularly Ayatollah Khomeini who was in exile in Paris. Shah Pahlavi eventually fled and Khomeini’s theocratic Islamic Republic replaced the traditional government system in Iran. These ruptures led to armed conflict and exacerbated existing border tensions, from a hostage crisis in Tehran’s American Embassy to the Iran-Iraq War. Iran’s educational curriculum was changed to strictly adhere to Islamic tenets and the broadcasting of any music other than martial or religious on Iranian radio and television was banned. This history serves as a backdrop to Tara Najd Ahmadi’s artistic practice. Born in Tehran in 1983, Ahmadi’s work – which includes drawing, painting, film, video, sound and

performance – broadly examines the politics of historical erasure and censorship. More specifically, for Ahmadi, personal history is a site of recovery and resistance. Her recent work, Productive Frustration (2012), consists of three video works that function more as diaries, the first of which explains the artist’s interests in making such work as well as the pain and politics of memory. The second video in the series poetically interrogates Iran’s larger political history, and the third frames Ahmadi’s criticisms of ‘the art world’ and the artist’s ongoing conceptual concerns. The first video begins with Ahmadi’s voice. A distorted image of a wooden maquette figure appears. Next, the image switches to a miniature doll with affixed limbs swinging. The video ends with a vacated image of a

Profile for Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition

Art Focus Oklahoma, September/October 2012  

2012 September/October Art Focus Oklahoma is a bimonthly publication of the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition dedicated to stimulating insight...

Art Focus Oklahoma, September/October 2012  

2012 September/October Art Focus Oklahoma is a bimonthly publication of the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition dedicated to stimulating insight...

Profile for ovac