Sepideh Tajalizadeh Dashti: To Be Me


Zolf, 2020

To Be Me
Sepideh Tajalizadeh Dashti

Artlab Gallery
Department of Visual Arts, Western University
October 26 – November 12, 2020

The Artlab Gallery is pleased to present MFA candidate Sepideh Tajalizadeh Dashti’s thesis exhibition, “To Be Me”.

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I will meet you there.”

There is something inside each one of us that, sometimes, is impossible to explain and define in precise words. However, this ambiguous something exists and acts. Sepideh Tajalizadeh Dashti, an Iranian woman who grew to adulthood in Iran and who now resides between Canada and the United States, has experienced deep feelings of ambiguity in her encounters with different cultural and social expectations.

Not all diasporas are the same. Not all female experiences of oppression are the same. Dashti’s experience as an Iranian diasporic woman is fragmented along ethnic, religious, social, political, and class lines. These fragments pose challenges to her attempts to bind with others and find solidarity based in multiculturalism and ethnicity. Dashti establishes her body as an integral material in her art practices to make the explanation of her experiences and challenges possible. She seeks to claim her body across multiple media of performance, video, and installation. Dashti focuses on traumas that underscore both personal experience and engagement with larger sociopolitical structures of the phallocentric systems that exist in both her homeland and her host countries.

Representation is a crucial location of the struggle for any exploited and oppressed bodies asserting subjectivity. Dashti insists on reminding us to work against the silence and erasure of traumatic experience. “To Be Me” features contemporary representations of Dashti’s Iranian and immigrant identity formation. Works within this MFA thesis exhibition relay the immense struggles of living between places and cultures. Dashti explores her identity in the hope of calling oppressive authorities into question. Perhaps there is not much hope for a bright future where differences are recognized without eliminating the voices of others. But striving to make this future fosters hope—both to endure and to continue.

Sepideh Tajalizadeh Dashti is currently an MFA candidate in the Department of Visual Arts at Western University in London, Ontario. She migrated to Canada in 2011 from Iran, and has lived in the USA since August 2019. Her artistic practice involves exploring her body through performance, video, and installation. Her work reflects concerns about the unjust and tyrannical politics of her homeland. Dashti is always rediscovering, reinventing, and reinterpreting her Iranian identity through multiple discourses and contexts, in multiple and heterogeneous ways. She earned her BFA, Fine Arts Studio Practice-Intensive Studio Specialization, with an Honours Digital Arts Communication Minor, at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, making the Dean’s Honours List. She is also a recipient of various awards such as the Lynn Holmes Memorial Award and Curator’s Choice Award during her BFA. Dashti received the Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship in Social Sciences and Humanities Research in 2019. Her work has been showcased nationally and internationally.

Due to COVID-19 safety measures, the Artlab Gallery and Cohen Commons will be operating virtually. In-person visits are not permitted at this time. We will be posting exhibition documentation, videos, and virtual walk-throughs on the Artlab’s website.


Artlab Gallery
Department of Visual Arts
Western University
John Labatt Visual Arts Centre
London, ON, Canada
Twitter: @westernuVisArts
Instagram: @westernuVisArts