Shulamit Gallery is proud to announce Elham Rokni’s first exhibition in the United States, and our first fair with NADA. Born in Iran in 1980 and immigrated to Israel at age nine, Rokni’s drawings and mixed-media works on paper deal with personal biographical narratives, intertwined with myths and regional history. Following Rokni’s well received Solo show at the Tel Aviv Museum last year, the artist was invited to participate in 18th Street art residency program in Santa Monica, CA this coming fall where she will create new work for her upcoming solo exhibition at Shulamit gallery.
Rokni was born in Iran just after the 1979 Islamic Revolution and grew up in Tehran. Her family immigrated to Israel when I was nine, knowing that they would never be allowed to return to Iran again. During her adolescence, she assimilated into Israeli society, but the experience of migration, transition, and disconnection still haunts her personal life and artistic practice.
In her drawings and video installations she repeatedly constructs and deconstructs patterns, colors, and shapes that have to do with her childhood memories and family albums. Central to the ongoing exploration of her past is the question of how images compose our memories, emotions, and personality. She draws on the work of 19th century photography pioneers such as Eadweard Muybridge, to investigate different mechanisms of image-making, both technically and conceptually. Often, her works deal with the rise or disappearance of an image in motion, its excess or absence, and above all, its fragility.
In recent years, as her interest in transitional spaces develops, she has become preoccupied with connecting her personal experience as an immigrant to urgent political and ethical issues. More specifically, she is interested in the actions and notions of accessibility and free movement in relation to the dialectical development of the globalized world, i.e. on the one hand, the free movement of goods, services, and a limited number of people, and on the other hand, fortified nations and communities, surrounded by separation walls and other barriers, and accompanied by racism and fear. Her current exploration focuses on the mental and physical spaces produced by these processes as liminal spaces where the personal and the political intersect. She is especially interested in the role and status of images in producing these spaces and the variety of feelings, beliefs, and aesthetics they produce.
The investigation of these critical issues on local, national, and global scales are also linked to her life as a disable person. As a wheelchair user, she has developed an in-depth sensitivity to the notion of accessibility and the marginalization of the Other in any given society. This perspective is an undercurrent in all of her works and serves as a common thread between her different projects.
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