Is she staring at me, or am I staring at her? II

Is she staring at me, or am I staring at her? II

Marzieh Mosavarzadeh

February 7th 2017 – May 2017

505 8th Ave SW, Calgary, AB

Marzieh Mosavarzadeh obtained her MFA degree (specialized in printmaking) from University of Calgary in 2016. She finished her BFA. in Tehran, her hometown, concentrating in painting, in 2013. Her research creation examines ways of visualizing the notion of simultaneity in the lives of today’s migrants, in the sense of being in-between two cultures and multiple states of mind. She intends to show the shifts, construction, and reconstruction, which take place in one’s identity as a result of immigration and living in a different culture, with the lens of simultaneity in identity, place, and language. She uses an interdisciplinary approach that includes time-based media, photography, printmaking, drawing, and text as means of investigating and narrating her story.

My art practice examines ways of visualizing the meaning of simultaneity, in the sense of being in two places and moments at the same time. A feeling that took shape in my life after moving to Calgary as an Iranian woman artist. The use of the Internet has held me strongly tethered to my hometown and past self, and has created a third space between my past home and my new home, as I am virtually going back and forth between spaces and times in Tehran and Calgary. It gives me the feeling of being suspended between two utterly different worlds; I refer to this sensation as simultaneity. I explore the notion of simultaneity in relation to hybrid identity, overlaid places and translocation, and mixed languages.

I will be showing four photo-lithography prints from the “Is she staring at me, or am I staring at her?” series along with one life size piece from my MFA thesis show series, called “Going Back and Forth”. These will be installed on the walls in order to build a meaningful and cohesive conversation between the two series, helping the viewer to realize this connection and follow the narrative. The lithography prints on the wall represent the artist’s self-portrait in two different expressions, and in two different colours. One self-portrait represents a veiled woman, in black and white, and the other one depicts an unveiled woman with her playful braids in red. The overlaid images of these two styles reflect the two different layers of one’s identity at once, as if two completely different personalities are living in one body. This puts forward the notion of discovering different layers of one’s identity during immigration or other major changes that happen in one’s life. My attempt was to depict these layers at once so as to stress upon the contradictions and similarities in them. I strive to embody how these layers challenge one’s identity by their very existence. My endeavour is to show that one’s being can consist of complex polarities, none of which are thoroughly erasable. What started me on this path was my experience of moving from a conservative society in Iran to Calgary. My reason for choosing printmaking was to use the repetitive nature of this technique in order to create diverse compositions and overlays.


A special thank you to CADA for supporting our exhibition programming and artists in residency program, and the City of Calgary’s Public Art Collection team and 679 Capital for their continued help in making Gallery 505 exhibitions possible.

Gallery 505 is Calgary’s newest public art venue curated by the Calgary Allied Arts Foundation (CAAF). This new space “Gallery 505” is a reference to its street address at 505 – 8th Ave SW. This high pedestrian traffic area will now give CAAF a street presence and extend our footprint into the Calgary cultural scene. Here on display you will see artworks on loan from the Civic Art Collection, as well as previous participants from CAAF’s Artist in Residence Program.

The Civic Art Collection contains over 1000 works of art and the collection is the pride and joy of The City of Calgary. For many years, CAAF has provided acquisition funds for the collection, which has allowed the number to grow. The artworks date from 1850 to the present and include the names of some of Calgary’s most recognized historic and contemporary artists.

The footprint for the gallery is not large but it is dynamic. Every aspect has been considered from the design of the interior to the environmental concerns associated with displaying artwork. We are ever so grateful to donor 679 Capital for seeing Gallery 505 come to fruition. By collaborating with CAAF, we hope to enrich the community in the core and further promote Calgary’s vibrant art scene.