Title page for ETD etd-05282016-164345

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Naghshbandi, Seyedehghazal Gazelle
Author's Email Address naghshishere@gmail.com
URN etd-05282016-164345
Title All Are Immigrants
Degree Master of Arts (M.A.)
Department Art
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Thompson, Kristine Committee Chair
Ariaz, Jeremiah Committee Member
Baggett, Lynne Committee Member
Cellucci, Vincent Committee Member
Doubleday, Richard Committee Member
  • Immigrants
  • Are
  • All
Date of Defense 2016-04-19
Availability restricted
“I constantly migrate and among many places and always to and fro I do it alone, although many people act like me”— Agnes Heller

Three years ago, I left my home country of Iran for many reasons. I wanted something new in my life: new challenges and new experiences. This move expanded my world. I was not satisfied in Iran and, the United States was always the place I dreamed about being; I had an American dream and I decided my dream should become true. I became an immigrant. As my world expanded, I lost my comfort and security. I began to realize that what I thought America would be was different than the reality I found... I lost all the things I had. I chose to lose. When I came here, I had hard days, but I did not give up, and my thesis exhibition, All Are Immigrants, narrates my story as an immigrant with a Persian perspective. My work uses the multimedia forms of video art, sound installation and photography as a collaged reflection of my nostalgia for the past, and my transition adjusting to this new culture. The works explore more than my disappointment of the reality being different from my dream but they also extend to my status of trying to fill a void in my everyday life as an American immigrant.

I found myself with this huge metaphorical void in my body. I found this hole after my immigration, a lack of something. The image of the hole means many things to me, but it is mostly representative of the deep pain I encountered—pain from my previous life, memories and my Persian identity, transition time here and the disappointment of my American dream. My work is informed by artists such as Kim Sooja, Anna Diprospero, Alex Prager, Nooshin Rosatmi (Iranian-New York artist), and Gohar Dashti.

I believe that everyone has holes in their lives and feelings of loneliness; we can all relate to this aspect of the immigrant experience. I invite my audience to see my life after immigration and empathize, as I struggle to bridge my constructed fantasy of American life with the reality I faced me.

The exhibition’s goal is to change the culture towards immigrants here and dispel the illusions about my country spread in the media. Some of these questions are painful and cause anxiety. In Iran, the America media shows false dreams to us about the U.S., while people here think wrongly about Iran based on the news and media.

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