Thomas Stevens Arts

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Sia Yazdanfar
Restless Anahita

Opening Reception and
Last Fridays Art Walk

Friday, March 31st, 2023 6-9 PM
Music with Bill West

Artist Reception
Thursday, April 6th, 2023 6-8 PM

World Art Day Reception
Saturday, April 15th, 2023 4-7 PM

Restless: /ˈres(t)ləs/ Lacking or denying rest, continuously moving, characterized by or manifesting unrest, especially of mind, unwilling to be quiet & calm.
Anahita: /ɑːnəˈhiːtə/ The old Persian form of the name of an Iranian goddess, a cosmological figure venerated as the divinity of "the Waters" (Aban), hence associated with fertility, healing & wisdom.

You are invited into a variegated, parti-colored, rainbow of traditional cloth, highlighting women photographed both in their daily lives as well as non-traditional settings.
In a country where religion, climate, and function dictate much of the clothing, female beauty oftentimes is expressed through colorful garments, as faces and hair were usually covered. Focusing on the unique and colorful traditional garb of Iranian women in different localities, the images in this exhibition weave a kaleidoscopic tale of fabrics and patterns, highlighting the timeless tapestry of regional and tribal dress of the photographer’s motherland.

Artist Statement
My focus since first returning to my motherland in 2017 has been to bridge a gap between the two cultures that have formed me. With each new series of photographic expeditions, I seek out under-explored & less revealed people & places of Iran. I am fortunate to be in a fairly unique position, able to travel relatively freely between that & this side of the world. A country with over 6000 years of history has countless stories to tell. With no language barrier & open to tearing down cultural ones, I use the medium of photographic storytelling to share some of these tales with my audience at exhibitions, art talks, & other programs.
The primary impetus for this exhibition, named Restless Anahita, is to honor the women of Iran. It is a variegated, parti-colored passage through the rainbow of traditional cloth. Persian, Arab, Kurdish, Baluch, Turkemen, & Bandari worn fabrics & patterns will each be spotlighted, with people photographed both in their daily lives as well as non-traditional settings.
The photographs for the project draw from my 2022 treks to the region, as well as never before seen selections from previous years. Late last summer, I left for Tehran. I could not have predicted the unrest that would soon engulf the country days after my arrival there. While the circumstances were less than ideal for exploring & photography to say the least, they did reinforce a sense of purpose. Collectively, these images from remote reaches of home, from the northwest mountains of Gilan, to the sun-kissed islands of south-central Hormozgan pay homage to our mothers, sisters, & daughters.
Sia Yazdanfar, Freelance & Itinerant Photographer
Recipient, 2021-2022 Artist Project Grant for Photography
Orange County Arts Commission, North Carolina Arts Council
2022-2023 Artist Project Grant for Photography
Orange County Arts Commission, North Carolina Arts Council
2022-2023 Ella Fountain Pratt Emerging Artists Grant for Photography Durham Arts Council, Mary Duke Biddle Foundation, Kelley Katzenmeyer Fund

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World Art Day is an international celebration of the fine arts. Founded in 2012 by the International Association of Art (IAA) & UNESCO, the two entities selected the birthday of Leonardo da Vinci on April 15th for the annual event.

Da Vinci was chosen as a symbol of world peace, freedom of expression, tolerance, brotherhood and multiculturalism as well as art’s importance to other fields.

In this spirit, we cordially invite you to the Thomas Stevens Gallery for a spring afternoon of art, music, chai, and refreshments. Enjoy a guided tour through the current photography exhibition by Sia Yazdanfar,
Restless Anahita.