The Edmonds College Art Gallery’s fall exhibition, “Rebel,” is a homage to artist Nakisa Dehpanah’s Iranian roots. The exhibition will be displayed at Lynnwood Hall from now until Dec. 8.
Dehpanah is a Seattle artist, architectural designer, and dancer who moved to the U.S. to pursue her master of architecture and master of sustainable environment in 2016. She spent most of her childhood hiking and backpacking with her family in the northern mountains of Iran. Her artwork is heavily influenced by her connection with nature and her culture.
“Rebel” envisions what happens when a person or society outgrows its limits to discover its true self. The exhibition’s title was inspired by Iranian poet Forough Farrokhzad and her 1958 collection, “Rebellion,” which protested the laws that constrained women’s roles in Iran.
Sixty years later, women are still fighting for their rights in Iran. Dehpanah’s exhibition starts 13 months after Mahsa Amini’s death. Her death sparked worldwide protests and global action in solidarity with Iranian women and girls who courageously demonstrated peacefully for their fundamental human rights.
“I watch Iranian news every day and see young girls go to the streets; they fight for their lives and sometimes get killed,” said Dehpanah. “That could be me.
“It’s so touching and inspiring. I feel like some part of them goes to me when they die. So I have to continue their fight, and art is a language that can tell stories without talking, or shouting, or yelling. Art is something that is very smooth and can be pleasant, but it can also tell a story that is very painful.”
The multi-layered exhibition features Dehpanah’s visual art alongside a video of her dance performance inside a moving, nine-piece structure. The performance features calligraphy from “Rebellion” as well as an improvised musical accompaniment played on the tar: a double-chambered, six-string Persian instrument.
“In a time when amplifying the voices of Iranian women artists is crucial, Nakisa’s work serves as a powerful representation of how they are raising awareness and addressing the issues facing Iran today,” said Audineh Asaf, curator of the exhibition and faculty chair of the art department.
Dehpanah experiments constantly with different methods of design and creation. As a designer, she strives to find bottom-up solutions, tell stories, and create sustainable and resilient designs for communities. As an artist, she seeks to illustrate her inner world and share her spiritual journey. Some of her most significant inspirations are Farsi literature, calligraphy, and dance.
“Rebel” is on display through Dec. 8 on the third floor of Lynnwood Hall at 20000 68th Ave. W., Lynnwood. The gallery is open 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m.-2 p.m. on Friday. A reception celebrating the exhibition will be held at the gallery 2:30-4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 17. For more information, visit edmonds.edu/gallery.