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How do culturally diverse contemporary artists operate within the context of the West? What are the translational activities that occur in such art practices? In this presentation, I will discuss how my art practice navigates the terrains of cultural translation and draws on my experience of living in both Western and Eastern (Iranian) cultures. I will investigate the processes involved in cultural transfer and transformation by exploring the theoretical frameworks of Walter Benjamin’s concept of translation as a departure from the original, and Homi Bhabha’s notions of the Third Space and in-betweeness.
Soheila K. Esfahani grew up in Tehran, Iran, and moved to Canada in 1992. She received her Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Western Ontario and her BA in Fine Arts from the University of Waterloo. She is an award-winning visual artist and recipient of numerous grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Region of Waterloo Arts Fund. She is a recipient of 2016 Waterloo Region Arts Awards (Visual Arts category) and was nominated for the Jameel Prize at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, UK in 2015. Her work has been exhibited across Canada from Vancouver to Halifax and collected by various public and private institutions, including the Canada Council’s Art Bank. Currently, she is a lecturer at the University of Waterloo and is a member of the Red Head Gallery in Toronto.
Image: The Immigrant Canada 150, custom ceramic dish (detail)
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