Panel Discussion

Saturday, September 14, from 3-4:30pm
Negin Sharifzadeh with Giulio Verago, Alix Brouillion, and Bryn Gast.
A.I.R. Gallery, 155 Plymouth St, Brooklyn, NY

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A.I.R. Gallery and Negin Sharifzadeh will be hosting a panel discussion around Sharifzadeh’s show at A.I.R.

The idea for the exhibition came about during an artist residency Sharifzadeh was part of in the heart of Tuscany, at Santa Maria a Rignana.

Sharifzadeh’s studio space was in a decommissioned church in which all the church sculptures, fabrics, and ornaments had been left intact. That was what sparked her interest with Christian iconography, the history of Renaissance painting, and the role of women in the Renaissance. In particular, how the social and political systems defined the ways women were allowed to be the protagonists of their lives within those systems compared to how women deal with the same challenge today. We have the sense of great progress and distance from that period, but is that illusory? Are we still fundamentally bound by the restrictive politics and laws written for women by white male supremacists?

The panel will also investigate the idea of how a female artist from the Middle East looks at this iconic western history, what is so often posited as the fount of legitimate, i.e. European, art. How she can find herself in it as an outsider? Or take on the very notion of being an outsider?

As an artist, Sharifzadeh’s approach had two major facets. First, was understanding the complexities of the roles the women portrayed were able to build for themselves, and recognizing in them the ways women still need to struggle to build their identities and practices within the constraints placed on them. Second was challenging the notion of the Renaissance itself as some purely European phenomena, and instead recognizing it was part of a complex set of cultural flows between regions and periods, including tremendous influences from the Middle East. Placing herself inside this context was not an “invasion”, more a rectification of an intentional historical blindness. 


Giulio Verago, is the curator of this exhibition. He has previously worked with Negin Sharifzadeh on her film project, Perilous Milano, during her residency at Via Farini Artist Residence in Milan, in winter 2019, of which he is the director. 

Negin Sharifzadeh, is an award-winning artist. She has worked across multiple mediums, from sculpture and animation to performance and film since 1996. She has shown work and attended artist residencies in Western Europe, Australia, USA and Iran. 

Ms Alix Brouillion recently completed her master’s thesis at the School of Social Sciences (L'École des hautes études en sciences sociales) in Paris on Negin Sharifzadeh’s body of work. She is joining the panel from the perspective of knowing the artist’s work from a sociopolitical view and bringing a richer understanding to the concept and content behind this exhibition. 

Bryn Gast recently earned her BA in English Literature from Emory University. She played a femme fatale in Negin Sharifzadeh’s 2016 short film, Inspector Sorrow. Bryn currently works at the UN and is applying to law school. She is the model in the photos for Appearance Stripped Bare.