Kiana Honarmand is an Iranian artist whose work addresses issues related to her cultural identity, the treatment of women in Iran’s society, censorship, surveillance, and the Western perception of the Middle East. Derived from her interest in different materials and processes, Kiana’s interdisciplinary practice features the use of digital fabrication tools as well as traditional methods of craft. In 2012, Kiana moved to the United States to pursue and complete her Master of Fine Arts degree, and currently, she lives and works in the Bay Area. Her work has been exhibited internationally and throughout the United States.
Through my life in Iran and now my identity as a Middle Eastern woman living in the United States, my work offers a commentary on sociopolitical issues. I create images, sculptures, and installations that illustrate my struggles as a woman whose rights have been trampled in her home country and whose identity is perceived by her new home and by the rest of the world. Creating from a personal place, I am able to craft a space to share my experience with the viewer. Incorporating different forms and materials, I talk about various subject matters that have deeply affected my life and many others. Censorship from my youth in Iran manifests itself into images from art history that are obscured by Persian calligraphy and geometric patterns prevalent in Islamic architecture. Often, the viewer is invited to participate in the act of censorship, while they themselves are faced with censored material. Through objects made from different materials such as cast iron, fabric, ceramic, light and shadow, I address the violation of women’s rights in Iran such as mandatory hijab. Each material brings its own cultural and conceptual significance in relation to the piece. Utilizing text as a way to reference the history of hiding critical commentary in Persian poetry and visual arts, my work employs politically-charged writings such as news articles, Hadith, or feminist poetry. The writings are subsequently transformed into pattern using the smooth curves of Persian calligraphy. While Persian text is associated with fear and terror in the current political climate of the Western world, these patterns take over the space to confront the viewer.