When Mojdeh Rezaeipour was 12 years old, she moved with her family to Northern Virginia from Iran. The local artist currently has an installation in a group exhibition at the Greater Reston Arts Center, and it turns out some of the things her mother brought with her from Iran inspired Rezaeipour’s latest work. “My mom kept an extensive record of everything I ever did as a child, and she brought them across oceans to America when we came here,” says Rezaeipour. Her childhood drawings served as a repository of inspiration for the GRACE show, An Excellent Thought About a Quality Idea, curated by ‘sindikit, which is on view now through Feb. 6. Here, Rezaeipour talks about her work and why artists are so valuable during this surreal era.
How would you describe your artwork?
“I’m working with mixed-media installations and films that explore dualities—destruction and creation, trauma and healing, play and pain. I work a lot in collage. If it’s video work, it’s collecting fragments and piecing it together. Or just how I live [is like a collage]. I tend to get involved in a series of random things at the same time. Then what happens [is that] some sort of meaning is made from doing all of those things side by side, and then I evolve as an artist and a human.”
What can we expect from your exhibition at GRACE?
“The concept of the exhibition is revisiting an old work with a new eye, going back to something from the past and approaching it with a new eye. I’m revisiting some drawings I made from ages 4 to 9 and animating them. It’s an experiment in time travel. Honestly, [looking at my childhood drawings] is really affirming that I’ve actually always been an artist. There’s a lot of joy and play, and scenes of war and women crying together.”
Why are the arts particularly important during the pandemic?
“I think that artists are cultural workers, and without culture, we have nothing. It’s really important for artists to be able to show up and speak to some of the difficult realities that are being revealed collectively these days … also, we’re going through a lot of trauma, individually and collectively. We’re in the midst of a deadly global pandemic and witnessing a violent rise of white supremacy and authoritarianism in the U.S. and beyond. Now more than ever, we need to tend to our healing and transformation across all borders and scales, radically imagining futures that push beyond these oppressive hierarchies. I believe one of the most powerful ways to show up to this work is through artistic practice.”
(Photo by Senna Ahmad)