Born 1990 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Lives in Providence, Rhode Island.
Sheida Soleimani was born to political refugees who fled Iran in the mid-1980s. She builds photographic tableaux that dramatize Middle Eastern geopolitics, satirizing the reporting of West and East alike. Her photographs often source imagery from popular media and adapt them to exist within alternative scenarios, including photographs, moving image, sculpture, and theatre. Like propaganda posters and art forms that emerge in times of crisis (Dada, Relational Aesthetics, Identity Politics), her works chronicle oral histories to portray events that have been shrouded by Western reportage, situating her practice and discourse not only in art, but also in political activism.
Sheida Soleimani received her MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art and her BFA from the University of Cincinnati, College of Art. Soleimani’s most recent solo exhibitions were at Denny Dimin Gallery in New York, Harlan Levey Projects in Brussels, Andrew Rafacz Gallery in Chicago and the evolving exhibition Medium of Exchange that examined how oil is interchangeable with currency and the corruption at the center of the petroleum industry. Medium of Exchange traveled to six different locations from Edel Assanti in London to the Atlanta Contemporary, in Atlanta, GA. Soleimani has been written about in The New York Times, Artforum, Hyperallergic, The Brooklyn Rail, and BEAUTIFUL/DECAY. She currently is an Assistant Professor of Studio Art at Brandeis University in Waltham, MA.
The New York installation was unveiled at an event featuring former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Human Rights Lawyer and Director of the Strategic Litigation Project at the Atlantic Council Gissou Nia, artists Sheida Soleimani and Shirin Neshat, actor and singer Sepideh Moafi and more at FDR Four Freedoms State Park with a performance by Grammy award-winner Jon Batiste.
The artist’s home and studio in Providence, R.I., is, among other things, a wildlife clinic.
Sheida Soleimani in the Boston Art Review
As Soleimani’s work looks outward at the global petroleum industry or political corruption in the United States and Iran, it also encourages viewers to turn inward, confronting the assumptions and blind spots that they bring to her images. I spoke with Soleimani about putting evaders of justice in the aesthetic hot seat, making activist art outside of the sentimentalizing traditions of the genre, and rehabilitating wild birds.
Fine art photographer and trained bird and wildlife rehabber Sheida Soleimani voiced objections to an opening event at Jeffrey Deitch Los Angeles, which incorporated the release of live birds.
Soleimani started taking these photographs “to document these forays and efforts to explore whatever we were doing one week or another.”
Sheida Soleimani was commissioned by the New York Times to consider what fun looks like now.
“I make photographs for a world in crisis.”
Soleimani’s use of bright colors and textured backgrounds draw the viewer into the conversation and ask us to spend time there. By suggesting rather than spelling out the violence she so often takes up, Soleimani maintains the privacy and agency of her subjects instead of probing into their pain.
As a photographer who captures images of elaborate stage-like sets, Sheida Soleimani is engaged with contradictory modes.
“Tracing Networks of Political Corruption in Sheida Soleimani’s Slick, Hyper-Stylized Tableaux” by Cassie Packard
The Iranian-American artist invites us into her converted, 19th century barn in Rhode Island, where politically charged installations co-exist with her hobby of rehabilitating injured wildlife.
Ms. Soleimani’s artworks are analogue, compositions of items arranged in her studio. Their premise, then, is epistemological as much as formal: Much of what we think we know is a distortion or an illusion.
Exhibition catalog for Sheida Soleimani: Hotbed with essay by Jane Ursula Harris.
As a first gallery solo show in New York, this introduction to Soleimani’s work packs plenty of promising firepower. What’s exciting is that she’s boldly stepped into the fray of making overtly political art, and punched her way through with consistent intelligence and visual wit.
Join all the Tribeca Galleries on Saturday, December 5th from 11am-7pm for Tribeca Gallery Day!
Speaking truth to the crises that define relations between Iran and the United States, Soleimani superimposes source imagery onto sculptural backdrops to reflect and critique hot-button issues such as demands for reparations, sanctions on trade and resources, and the “crude” history of the petroleum industry.
Join us over Zoom for a celebratory opening conversation of the exhibition, Sheida Soleimani: Hotbed. The online event will include a walkthrough, discussion of the work, and Q & A.
“I really love Wendy White’s exploration of Americana,” he said at the Los Angeles gallery Shulamit Nazarian — where couches are upholstered with denim jeans — signaling to the newbie visitor that taste and enjoyment are valid criteria.