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Jila Nikpay, Visual Lecture Series

Shroud14.jpg

Fall 2009 Visual Lecture Series
Jila Nikpay, photographer and filmmaker
6PM Monday, November 2, 2009
Location: Bohannon Lecture Hall (room 90)
http://www.jilanikpay.com/

Jila Nikpay is an Iranian artist who lives in the U.S. She is a filmmaker and a photographer, working exclusively in black and white. Her still photography is staged, and marked by dramatic lighting. The films are poetic tableaus, comprised of short vignettes with no dialogue.

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Comments

I really identify my self with Jila in many ways one of them is leaving what you know for so many years and then growing up in a totally different culture. One thing that really impressed my was that after all the years apart from her roots in a way using her photography and now film she shows us the importance that people and country have for her. Is also interesting the way she used iconography like the burning book. Unfortunately after talking about her religion, when I saw the book the 1st thought that came to my mind was the Quran. I really enjoy her work and the movies.

I found Jila Nikpay’s presentation of photographs and films to be very interesting. Being an Iranian living in the upper Midwest of the United States presents a very curious combination of cultural experiences. She named three themes which characterize her work being identity, longing and memory which I feel were very well portrayed through her imagery. I thought the works that explore how women’s bodies and behaviors are manipulated/controlled by the male sex in current Islamic culture to be particularly interesting. This is due to the fact that as a woman living in an environment that permission is not required to do most things, I enjoyed a visual representation of what that must be like. I felt like, as Jim mentioned in the discussion afterward, that her ideas are conveyed very archetypically and therefore I feel as though the messages could have been presented in a less obvious way. But that is purely a personal aesthetic and choice. I did, however, appreciate the fact that she is an artist who is concerned/interested in what her viewers think and how they react to seeing her work and was so willing to listen to comments made. Overall a good presentation.

Jila Nikpay's work was really interesting because the use of photography and music used in her videos. She talked about her journey to and from Iran dealing with the changes she faced because of the revolution there and the change in clothing for women and how a woman was suppose to act around men. I wish she would have talked more about the time frame of when she went back to Iran more. I really like the transitions in the first film that she showed because the girl was on a journey walking through the woods, meeting an old lady, burning a book, taking off her headdress and dancing. The cinematography reminded me of our visual narratives and got me thinking about something that I could do that is similar to what Nikpay does.

Jila Nikpay is an Iranian photographer and filmmaker. She has had her works displayed in the Walker Art Museum here in MN. She considers herself to be a narrative image-maker and has been making films for over five years now. What she does is she will use her imagery and make short, narrative films. Nikpay explores her memory to create her work. She says that transitioning from the United States to Iran was a struggle for her. It was hard because of the culture differences and clothing issues that she faces in Iran. It was even hard working with males because she is so use to being comfortable around them here in the States. She made two films that she showed us that touched on those issues: World In Between and the Shroud and Torrent. Photography is a way for her to explore different characters and gives her a way to tell her stories. Iranian women are her muses and she gives those who are hidden behind a man (authority) a voice through her short films. She even made a series of women martyrs called Rhythm of Tides. Here she likes to work with fire, branches and books. One has to see these films in order to really appreciate them. I really enjoyed her lecture. I found it very interesting that her work cannot be shown in Iran and is sort of band to introduce her stuff when she goes over there. That means she is doing her work right; she is affecting people. Her art is making people uncomfortable, which is a good thing for her.

I like the fact that Jila has a variety of projects that she works on. It was interesting to see her miniature works because they were so simple looking, but complex in meaning. Dramatic lighting was the main emotive tool instead of the subjects. Trying to explore the mysteries of science in the universe, while the protagonist is trying to grasp seemingly unattainable knowledge is pretty deep stuff. Her idea of poetic film compelling to me as well. Using many vignettes to unify one idea is an idea that I might like to try someday.

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