Con Edison Immigrant Artist Program Newsletter, Issue No. 6
Featured Artist: Golnar Adili
IAP speaks with Golnar Adili, 2009 NYFA Mentor and Printmaking/Drawing/Artists Books Fellow
IAP: Tell us a little bit about your personal history – where did you grow up? When did you come to New York? How has this influenced your work?
GA: I was born in Virginia and we moved to Iran when I was four shortly after the 1979 revolution. I pretty much lived there, with my mother, until I was 18. My father who was a leftist had to flee Iran two years after the revolution due to the regime’s intolerance of political diversity. I came to the US to go to college. I came to New York in 2004 after graduating from University of Michigan. It was instantly home. The energy here is very reminiscent of Tehran.
IAP: You’re trained as an architect. How did you transition into visual art? How does that training influence your current artistic practice?
GA: To go into architecture for me was not a well researched step. I was surrounded by architect friends who were really amazing people. My father was a trained architect as well. I intuitively chose to study architecture, and I think this was a great idea for me. I think that architecture education is priceless. It gave me a systematic thinking-over which I still use to organize my emotional ideas for my work.
IAP: You went back to Iran recently. Why now? Did you work on your art while you were there, or bring home any raw material (in the metaphorical sense, probably) that could become part of future work?
GA: I just came back from a one month trip to Iran. My relationship with Iran is complicated like many other Iranians who have left due to the oppressive nature of the regime. I go back as much as I can to stay connected. I would love to spend more time, or perhaps live there soon since I am at a place in my life where I am craving to reconnect to my roots, people and culture. When I was there, I did not have time to make art, I only soaked it all up. My work is heavily autobiographical which allows me to ponder on the longings created by all the separations I have endured due to the political situation in Iran. So Iran and being Iranian is an integral part of my work.
IAP: Do you have any ongoing or upcoming exhibits or events our readers can check out?
GA: Yes! Please come to the Lower East Side Print Shop on the 24th of March. I am in a group show called “Out of the Chaos and Darkness.” The work presented here is a series I’m working on currently.