In a new installation of photographs at New York City’s Skylight Gallery, Iranian-American artist Aphrodite Désirée Navab deals with geo-political issues between the Middle East and the United States through a cheeky visual hybrid of idealized American superhero motifs and traditional women’s garments from the Middle East.
In her new photography exhibition Super East-West Woman’s Sufi Dance: Egypt, which opens February 28th, 2011,Navab documented herself whirling through Egypt’s capital city of Cairo – armed with her superhero shirt and her chador (Islamic covering for women) which pulls double duty as her hero-cape.
“The Superman figure of popular Western culture is transformed into a Superwoman whose chador turns into a cape of agency” Navab said. The cheek of Navab’s art has allowed her to represent visually the ludicrous situations in which her cultural duality has placed her.
The exhibition was inspired by the mounting tensions between the U.S. and the Middle East – in particular Iran. Navab describes her motivation behind the piece “take[ing] shape in 2002 after President George W. Bush branded Iran as one of the three nations comprising an “axis of evil.” This reminded Navab of the Islamic Revolution in 1979, when Iran’s new leaders labeled the United States as “The Great Satan.”
Growing up in the USA, Navab was destined to critique the two nations and cultures that define her identity.The end result is a provocative, nostalgic, and pensive body of work which blends traditional Islamic elements with American popular culture. And, perhaps Super East-West Woman illustrates what Navab herself lives every day of her life: that these two cultures can most definitely live side by side in harmony, even beauty.
The exhibition will run from February 28-April 3, 2011, at the Skylight Gallery NYC. Gallery hours are Monday through Saturday from 10am until 4pm. The gallery is located at 538 W 29th St. NY, NY 10001. For more information or inquiries, please contact Gallery Director Carla Goldberg at 646-772-2407, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Upcoming exhibitions of Aphrodite Navab include works featured at the Affordable Art Fair May 5-8, 2011 at 7W 34th St., NYC, as well as a solo exhibition opening September 6 running through October 1, 2011 at Soho 20 Chelsea, 547 W27th St., Suite 301, NYC.