'Contradicting Realities' to examine notions of identity

Rahbar photoPhotographs exploring cultural identity will be on display when “Contradicting Realities: Recent Work by Sara Rahbar” opens Friday, Jan. 30, in SUNY Oswego’s Tyler Art Gallery.

A reception, free and open to the public, will run from 5 to 7 p.m. Jan. 30. Rahbar will give a brief gallery talk at 6 p.m.

Rahbar was born in Tehran, Iran, in 1976, but her family fled that country following the 1979 Islamic Revolution and Iran-Iraq war and settled in New York City. She studied fine art in London and design in New York. Rahbar said she has learned to move freely between the contrasting cultures of New York and Iran.

“My work is the mirror image of my life; my geographic locations, my history, my present, my environments and my memories,” she said.

Rahbar’s work aims to generate a provocative questioning of many assumptions regarding nationality, symbols, religion and gender—while striving to illuminate what all cultures have in common. “In the end my work is based around the concept that we are all citizens of a very fragile world,” she noted.

Though Rahbar works in a variety of media including film, the work showing in Oswego will be predominately from three series of color photographs. These series document the underground rock music scene in Tehran, the 2005 Iranian elections and a third group—the “Oppression Series”—featuring Rahbar herself as the subject as she dons veils, military uniforms and traditional Iranian dress.

Rahbar often uses the flags of the United States and Iran in her work, and she sometimes alters, adds to and blends them together to raise questions about national identity. One of those flags will appear in her exhibition at Tyler Art Gallery.

The exhibition’s appearance at SUNY Oswego is sponsored by the college’s Artswego program and Student Association.

“Contradicting Realities: Recent Work by Sara Rahbar” will run concurrently with “Jerome Witkin: Drawings” in Tyler Art Gallery through March 6.

During exhibitions, SUNY Oswego’s Tyler Art Gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays and 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. weekends. All gallery events are free and open to the public. Parking is free in campus lots on evenings and weekends.

For more information, contact the gallery at 312-2113 or visit www.oswego.edu/tylerartgallery.

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(Posted: Jan 14, 2009)

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