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Simpson Center for the Humanities

Memory & Place

Greek philosopher Heraclitus said change is the only constant in life. However, what does it mean when the places we live and remember change? Are our history and memories still relevant? Artists Morehshin Allahyari, Trinh Mai, and Sara Zewde use different mediums to create visual works around these questions. Please join us for a panel discussion with these three artists as they explore the connections between memory, place, and art.

7:30 p.m., April 3, 2019
Kane Hall, Room 130

This event is free and open to the public. 

Register here.
Accompanying exhibition runs April 3–May 3, 2019. More info here.

About the Panelists

Morehshin Allahyari

Morehshin Allahyari (b. 1985 in Tehran, Iran) is a media artist, activist, educator and curator who uses computer modeling, 3D scanning and digital fabrication techniques to explore the intersection of art and activism. Inspired by concepts of collective archiving, memory, and cultural contradiction, Allahyari’s 3D printed sculptures and videos challenge social and gender norms. “I want my work to respond to, resist and criticize the current political and cultural situation that we experience on a daily basis,” she explains.

She is developing a new body of work on digital colonialism and ‘re-figuring’ as a feminist and de-colonialist practice, titled She Who Sees the Unknown. Researching female monsters, jinn and dark goddesses of Middle-Eastern origin, Allahyari devises narratives through practices of magic and poetic-speculative storytelling, re-appropriation of traditional mythologies, collaging, meshing, scanning and archiving. Continued development of the project is supported by a joint commission from The Whitney Museum of Art, Liverpool Biennale and FACT, as well as a 2018 Rhizome Commission.

Recent accolades include a residency at Pioneer Works in Brooklyn (2018), a research residency at Eyebeam Art + Technology Center (2016-17), a sculpture award from the Institute of Digital Art (2016), and being named Foreign Policy Magazine’s Leading Global Thinker of 2016. Other outlets featuring her work include Huffington Post, Wired, NPR, National Geographic, Rhizome, Hyperallergic and Dazed Digital. Her work has been part of numerous exhibitions, festivals and workshops at venues throughout the world, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Centre Pompidou in Paris, France; Venice Biennale di Archittectura; Pori Museum, Finland and Museum für Angewandte Kunst, Germany. Allahyari received her MFA at the University of North Texas, MA at the University of Denver and her BA at the University of Tehran, Iran. She is co-creator of the 3D Additivist Manifesto and subsequent 3D Additivist Cookbook.

Trinh Mai

Trinh Mai is an interdisciplinary, California-based artist who received her BFA at San Jose State University and furthered her studies at UCLA. She exhibits nationally with works taking residency in public and private collections internationally. In addition to exhibiting her work with leading academic and arts institutions such as Stanford University, Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center and Naples Museum of Art, her passion for intermixing arts and collaboration has inspired her community involvement. She has served as Master Teaching Artist for the Bowers Museum, Course Developer for the Pacific Symphony, and Curator at the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts, and has served in various residencies including UC Irvine’s Vietnamese American Oral History Project and the Diasporic Vietnamese Artist Network, for which she created visual arts language to help tell the stories of Vietnamese America. She has also held residencies with Community Engagement in partnership with California State University Fullerton’s Grand Central Art Center, during which she developed self-exploratory visual arts workshops for underrepresented communities in Orange County.

Mai has traveled nationwide to speak about her work and processes, and has had her artwork, poetry, and reflections about her work published in numerous publications, including the Journal of Southeast Asian American Education & Advancement (Purdue University), Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society (University of Chicago Press), Frontiers Journal of Women Studies (Ohio State University), and Ruminate Magazine. Recognizing the role of art to educate and heal, Mai has exhibited in support of numerous humanitarian groups including the Warriors Community Foundation which supports education in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Friends of Hue Foundation Children’s Shelter in Vietnam, and the Angkor Hospital for Children in Cambodia. Seeking hope within humanity’s struggle in war and hardship, she has partnered with Oceanside Museum of Art, MiraCosta College and Bowers Museum in developing socially engaging projects with survivors of war. Her inspirations and journey as an artist have been documented by The Artist Odyssey in the film, “Honoring Life: The Work of Trinh Mai” which won the Audience Choice Award for Best Short Film at the 2016 Viet Film Festival.

Sara Zewde

Sara Zewde is a founding principal of Studio Zewde, a design firm practicing at the intersection of landscape architecture, urbanism and public art. The studio’s work is lauded for its cultural methods of site interpretation, its design process powered by narrative, and its dedication to the craft of construction. The studio is devoted to designing an enduring place where people belong.

In parallel with practice, Sara regularly writes, lectures, exhibits design work and research. Sara is also the recipient of a number of awards, including the Silberberg Memorial Award for Urban Design and the Hebbert Award for Contribution to the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT. Sara was named the 2014 National Olmsted Scholar by the Landscape Architecture Foundation,  a 2016 Artist-in-Residence at the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, and in 2018, was named to the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s inaugural “40 Under 40: People Saving Places” list. Her design work in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil was featured at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale.

Sara holds a Master of Landscape Architecture from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, a Master of City Planning from MIT, and a BA in sociology and statistics from Boston University.

About the Moderator

Priya Frank

Priya Frank is associate director for Community Programs at Seattle Art Museum, where her focus is on partnerships, programming and racial equity related initiatives. Previous work in advancement at the University of Washington and as art curator at LUCID Lounge have influenced her passion and heart for community building. Priya is vice-chair of the Seattle Arts Commission, a member of the National Arts Education Association’s Taskforce for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, and is a graduate of Leadership Tomorrow’s class of 2015. She holds a B.A. in Communications and American Ethnic Studies from University of Washington Seattle and an M.A. in Cultural Studies from University of Washington Bothell.

Priya seeks to create space and experiences that truly reflect the voices and perspectives of Seattle’s arts and cultural sectors through reciprocal, community-centered collaborations and an innovative, joyful approach. Through her work, she hopes to honor those who paved the way for her and further support pathways for people of color to see themselves represented, respected, and in leadership within all areas of civic engagement.

Sponsoring Departments

UW Graduate School
Human Centered Design & Engineering
Center for Digital Arts and Experimental Media
School of Art + Art History + Design
College of Built Environments
Department of American Ethnic Studies