Taravat Talepasand is an artist, activist, and educator whose labor-intensive interdisciplinary painting practice questions normative cultural behaviors within contemporary power imbalances. As an Iranian-American woman, Talepasand explores the cultural taboos that reflect on gender and political authority. Her approach to representation and figuration reflects the cross-pollination, or lack thereof, in our Western Society.
“Growing up Iranian within America had been arduous and awkward. As a whole, we, as Iranians, had little consciousness of assimilation because of a constant denial of our permanence in America. In Iran, I found myself to be transgressive, yet within American culture being Iranian is transgressive in that American individualism and Iranian deference to tradition were irreconcilable. Traveling down one of those paths meant turning your back on the other even if the defiance was temporal; this was the hidden catch of the formation of my identity. The contradictions caused my head to constantly bounce around the question of inherent identity–that which is exterior and self-defined versus inward and pre-determined.
To create art, it is imperative for me to be vulnerable—extracting the personal truths driven by my Diaspora, history, nostalgia, self-awareness, and rebellion. Much of my work revolves around the struggles of womanhood and navigating personal identity as a hyphenated individual. However, I believe that art must possess an element of vulnerability in order to provoke change—socially, intellectually, and morally. In a world where ideas of culture, political and intellectual activities are evolving, what will this change mean for generations to come?”