Raheleh Saneie is an Iranian-Canadian photo, video and performance artist who in early 2014 was part of the Georgia Fee Artist/ Writer Residency in Paris, where she created this disturbing, comical video.
In my work I focus on and critique the visual stereotypes and performative aspects that shape female gender identity and Iranian ethnic identity. My perspective is that of a Canadian-Iranian who is questioning while also trying to assert gender and cultural identity. In particular, I focus on the performances through which individuals express such identities and I critique the value and legitimacy of identity and cultural expression. By bringing the viewer into intimate contact with acts that are usually performed in private, I attempt to create feelings of closeness and familiarity. My performance becomes an offer of intimacy and access.
While her earlier work may seem obvious, the 2014 Paris residency has clearly paid off. In the manner of Kalup Linzy, Rah subverts the use of media formats to approach the grotesque and offensive as a mirror to norms of gender and race profiling and self-image. Previously Rah won the Ottawa Art Gallery Graduating Student Award of Excellence and the SAW Video award. Recently, Rah created a performance in response to Diana Abu- Jaber’ s book, Crescent for the Williams College Museum of Art. Rah’s work (the threading video set to Iranian santoor, linked above) is travelling in“Islam Contemporary”, passing North Carolina in March, 2014.