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 Hadieh Shafie  (1969 - )

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Lived/Active: Maryland / Iran, Islamic Republic of      Known for: paper scrolls, drawings and photography

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Ad Code: 3
Hadieh Shafie "1890"
30"x30"x3" ink & paper with printed & handwritten text

Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
Biography from Morton Fine Art:
Hadieh Shafie was born in Iran and immigrated to the United States in 1983. Although Shafie works in a variety of media, the fundamental aspects of process, repetition and time appear throughout her work.  She has been the recipient of grants from the Kress Foundation, RTKL and MSAC 2010 & 2008 Individual Artist Grant and the 2009 Mary Sawyers Baker awards from the William G. Baker Jr. Memorial Fund.

Shafie’s work has been included in numerous exhibitions in the mid-Atlantic region; most recent exhibitions include Abrons Art Center, New York, NY; Maryland Art Place and Gallery Four, Baltimore, MD; Al Bastakiya Art Fair, Saatchi, Dubai, UAE; Civillian Art Projects, Washington D.C. ; Pentimenti Gallery, Philadelphia, PA; Baker Awards, The Baltimore Museum of Art.

Artist Statement:

One of the happiest memories from my childhood continues to be helping my grandmother decorate thousands of tiny delicate cookies the size of a quarter.  I worked for hours, placing a single, precise dot of saffron, using the tip of a toothpick to the very center of each cookie.  Somewhere, I must have lost myself in the dizzying repetition of my task, the scents of saffron and rose water, uninterested in other children’s play.

Paper Scrolls: A constant element of my work has been the significance of process, repetition and time.  In works comprised of paper scrolls, individual strips of paper have been marked with hand-written and printed Farsi (Persian language) text.  Each strip is then tightly rolled to create a core, around which successive strips are added.  During the repetitive process of adding paper strips to create individual rolls, text and symbols are sometimes revealed and often hidden within the concentric rings of the finished object.  The time it takes to make each work can vary and the time spent in writing and rolling the strips of paper is an important part of the artistic process and a performative aspect of the making of this work.  The title of each piece documents the number of individual strips of paper that complete the work or the number of times the word is written.

Drawings: Repeated in the work is the Farsi word for love, or “eshghe”.  The repetition of text and this particular word is a recurring element in much of my work of the last decade.  In choosing to ignore the rules of calligraphy, I create work that is grounded in the expressive beauty and individual power of the untrained hand.  In addition, by removing certain language markers, such as the dots that signify specific vowel soundings, I eliminate a communicative element. In this way the resulting text is reduced to its most expressive form as a visual element.  Concentric forms of text and material also take direct inspiration from the dance of the whirling dervish and the act of turning-on-axis in search of ascendants through forgetting the body.  The search for the dervish within is at the core of my own search and rebellion.

Photographs: The series of photographs documents my recent explorations of the relationship between text, the body and ornamentation.  Providing the opportunity to construct self-orientalist images that provide a tool for a subversive attack on notions of otherness, the exotic and beauty.  Scrolls of text held by hands or inserted into the mouth seek to invert the relationship of text to image taking on an active roll to either empower the subject or to take away power.

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