maryamsafajoo.art

Maryam Safajoo

Artist Statement:

My name is Maryam Safajoo a Tufts University alumni. I’m a Persian-American painter based in Illinois and graduated with an MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University in Boston in 2016. My paintings narrate the stories of the contemporary situation of the systematically persecuted Iranian Baha’i community – Iran’s largest religious minority – after the 1979 Iranian revolution.

I experienced this oppression myself in Iran. I remember the day in the early morning when government security forces burst into my home, ransacked it and took my father to prison; my younger sister was crying on her way to school. Later my sister was denied access to university and because of her quest to understand why, was placed in solitary confinement. These are only a few examples of what Baha’is around Iran have and are currently experiencing. 

My paintings narrate these stories which are a result of my conversations with the people who were near these actual events. Many of the incidents I depict only exist in the memory of those who experienced them and have no pictorial existence. In many cases if visual records did exist, they have been confiscated by the Iranian authorities in raids of homes. My depictions are often the first time these events have taken visual form. I record the details of this history. For example, the shoes, clothes, artifacts, and environments seen in my paintings are very close to those that were there in the event.  
 
 I take inspiration from interviewing, hearing, feeling, reading, and researching the stories of the Bahai’s of Iran. 
 
 My paintings tell the stories of this systematic persecution— including execution or murder, arrest, detainment, and interrogation. Tens of thousands more have been deprived of jobs, pensions and educational opportunities – including a systematic denial of access to higher education. Bahá’í cemeteries, and properties have been confiscated, vandalized, or destroyed, and many Bahá’ís have had their homes and other property seized or damaged etc. Throughout my work, I am constantly reflecting on the concept of a humanity free from religious prejudice including how we can eliminate all prejudice such as racism, sexism, nationalism, and how our prejudices can complicate or obfuscate the development of our community and prevent each other from growing. I often use my own body and those of my friends and family in my paintings. I’m working on this subject since 2013.

Some of my paintings depict the stories of the persecution of my immediate and extended family. I primarily work with oil on canvas and when necessary, I use mixed media to maintain historical accuracy. I work on small canvases and the details are often miniature in scale. Each of my paintings are thoroughly researched, are inspired by actual events, and show the beautiful aspects of those who have been persecuted by highlighting their steadfastness, powerful spirit, and love for humanity.


Bio:

Maryam’s paintings are based on qualitative research with those who are familiar with the situation she depicts; they are a combination of research and art.
Maryam was not able to study her BFA in Iran because of the danger of being kicked out of the public university she was surprisingly allowed to enter. She chose business administration, a program that also existed at the BIHE (the University that the Bahá’í Professors who were kicked out of the University made) so if she were kicked out, she could continue her studies at the BIHE. When she moved to the United States, she applied for an MFA program and was accepted by the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University, MA. She works on heavily emotional subjects in each painting. 
Maryam has exhibited her work at venues including Harvard University, the Massachusetts State House and presented at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Her remarks at the AJC Boston Diplomats Seder in 2016 was adapted by Boston Herald into an article. Her work has recently been featured by IranWire, Tavaana, PersianBMS, Radio Farda, Nashraasoo and the BBC.

CV:

Maryam Safajoo
www.maryamsafajoo.art

Education

2016, MFA, Painting, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
2011, BA, Business Administration, Industries Research and Training Center of Iran, Qazvin, Iran
2011, Graduation Certificate in Graphics, Jahad Daneshgahi Higher Educational Institute, Tehran, Iran

Press

2021, BBC Video Feature on my art
2021, BBC Video Featuring my painting “Lover’s Migration”
2021, Radio Farda Interview
2021, Nashraasoo
2021, Sharks eat meat review
2021, Art Seen Magazine
2021, Tavaana
2021, Persian BMS Khabarnegar
2020, Radio Farda Picture of the day
2020, Persian BMS
2020, Persian BMS Teaser
2020, Iran Press Watch
2020, Iran Wire
2016, Boston Herald	
2016, Artist at War
2016, VOA (Voice of America)
2016, El Mundo
2016, Iran Wire
2016, Center for Human Rights in Iran	 
2015, Nineteen Months

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2024, Evanston Art Center, Evanston, IL (forthcoming)
2023, A Cry From the Heart, Crary Art Gallery, a Nonprofit Art Museum, Warren, PA (forthcoming) April, 1-30
2022, Dayton International Peace Museum, Dayton, OH (forthcoming)
2021, Bahai House of worship, Wilmette, Il
2015, Education is Not a Crime Campaign, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 
2014, Crisis and Victory, Open House Gallery, Cambridge, MA
2013, Crisis and Victory, Open House Gallery, Pune, India 
2010, Ceramics Exhibition, Alborz Ceramic Company, Tehran, Iran

Selected Group Exhibitions

2022-2023, Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art, Chicago, Ill (forthcoming)
2022, Atelier Montez, Rome, Italy (forthcoming)
2022, Kiechel Fine Art, Lincoln, NE (forthcoming)
2021, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Champion of Justice, Promoter of Unity, Exemplar of Service, Green Acre A Baha’i Center of Learning, Eliot, ME 
2016, MFA Thesis Exhibition, Cyclorama, Boston, MA
2015, Violence Transformed, The Resnikoff Gallery, Roxbury Community College, Boston, MA
2015, Body of work, Massachusetts State House, Boston, MA
2015, Students Curate Students, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
2015, First Year MFA Exhibition, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
2015, SMFA Medici and MFA Museum Council Mission Hill Open Studios, Boston, MA
2014, Art Sale, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
2014, New Student Show, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA

Awards/Fellowships/Residencie

2021, Merit award from the Pinacothèque Art Museum in Luxembourg
2021, Finalist Prisma art prize 2021
2016, The Romero Award, MA
2014, MFA Scholarship, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA

Artist Talk/Presentation

2023, Crary Art Gallery, a Nonprofit Art Museum, Warren, PA (forthcoming)
2022, Dayton International Peace Museum, Dayton, OH (forthcoming)
2016, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
2016, Remarks at AJC Boston Diplomats Sedar, Boston, MA
2016, Graduation Speech at the Masters SMFA graduation ceremony, MFA Boston, MA

Professional Experience

2021, Teaching online private class on Portrait and Figures 
2021, Teaching online private class on Foundational of Virtual Art 
2016, Teacher assistant of Charles Goss (The Bridge DRW 1002 01)
2015, Graduate Teacher Assistant of Magdalena Campos-Pons (Painting & Drawing Practicum)  
2015, Scholastic Program, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA 
2014-15, Sales Associate, Goya Exhibition Shop, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA	
2014, Assisting Art Installation, The Drawing Center, New York City, NY
2012, Graphic Designer, Bahá’í Academy, Panchgani, India 
2011, Graphic Designer, The Gardener of Art Studio, Tehran, Iran
2010-11, Accountant, Rafooneh Company, Tehran, Iran
2010, Assistant Planning Manager, Rafooneh Company, Tehran, Iran

Artist Statement:

My name is Maryam Safajoo a Tufts University alumni. I’m a Persian-American painter based in Illinois and graduated with an MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University in Boston in 2016. My paintings narrate the stories of the contemporary situation of the systematically persecuted Iranian Baha’i community – Iran’s largest religious minority – after the 1979 Iranian revolution.

I experienced this oppression myself in Iran. I remember the day in the early morning when government security forces burst into my home, ransacked it and took my father to prison; my younger sister was crying on her way to school. Later my sister was denied access to university and because of her quest to understand why, was placed in solitary confinement. These are only a few examples of what Baha’is around Iran have and are currently experiencing.

My paintings narrate these stories which are a result of my conversations with the people who were near these actual events. Many of the incidents I depict only exist in the memory of those who experienced them and have no pictorial existence. In many cases if visual records did exist, they have been confiscated by the Iranian authorities in raids of homes. My depictions are often the first time these events have taken visual form. I record the details of this history. For example, the shoes, clothes, artifacts, and environments seen in my paintings are very close to those that were there in the event.

I take inspiration from interviewing, hearing, feeling, reading, and researching the stories of the Bahai’s of Iran.

My paintings tell the stories of this systematic persecution— including execution or murder, arrest, detainment, and interrogation. Tens of thousands more have been deprived of jobs, pensions and educational opportunities – including a systematic denial of access to higher education. Bahá’í cemeteries, and properties have been confiscated, vandalized, or destroyed, and many Bahá’ís have had their homes and other property seized or damaged etc. Throughout my work, I am constantly reflecting on the concept of a humanity free from religious prejudice including how we can eliminate all prejudice such as racism, sexism, nationalism, and how our prejudices can complicate or obfuscate the development of our community and prevent each other from growing. I often use my own body and those of my friends and family in my paintings. I’m working on this subject since 2013.

Some of my paintings depict the stories of the persecution of my immediate and extended family. I primarily work with oil on canvas and when necessary, I use mixed media to maintain historical accuracy. I work on small canvases and the details are often miniature in scale. Each of my paintings are thoroughly researched, are inspired by actual events, and show the beautiful aspects of those who have been persecuted by highlighting their steadfastness, powerful spirit, and love for humanity.


Bio:

Maryam’s paintings are based on qualitative research with those who are familiar with the situation she depicts; they are a combination of research and art.
Maryam was not able to study her BFA in Iran because of the danger of being kicked out of the public university she was surprisingly allowed to enter. She chose business administration, a program that also existed at the BIHE (the University that the Bahá’í Professors who were kicked out of the University made) so if she were kicked out, she could continue her studies at the BIHE. When she moved to the United States, she applied for an MFA program and was accepted by the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University, MA. She works on heavily emotional subjects in each painting.
Maryam has exhibited her work at venues including Harvard University, the Massachusetts State House and presented at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Her remarks at the AJC Boston Diplomats Seder in 2016 was adapted by Boston Herald into an article. Her work has recently been featured by IranWire, Tavaana, PersianBMS, Radio Farda, Nashraasoo and the BBC.

CV:

Maryam Safajoo
www.maryamsafajoo.art

Education

2016, MFA, Painting, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
2011, BA, Business Administration, Industries Research and Training Center of Iran, Qazvin, Iran
2011, Graduation Certificate in Graphics, Jahad Daneshgahi Higher Educational Institute, Tehran, Iran

Press

2021, BBC Video Feature on my art
2021, BBC Video Featuring my painting “Lover’s Migration”
2021, Radio Farda Interview
2021, Nashraasoo
2021, Sharks eat meat review
2021, Art Seen Magazine
2021, Tavaana
2021, Persian BMS Khabarnegar
2020, Radio Farda Picture of the day
2020, Persian BMS
2020, Persian BMS Teaser
2020, Iran Press Watch
2020, Iran Wire
2016, Boston Herald
2016, Artist at War
2016, VOA (Voice of America)
2016, El Mundo
2016, Iran Wire
2016, Center for Human Rights in Iran
2015, Nineteen Months

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2024, Evanston Art Center, Evanston, IL (forthcoming)
2023, A Cry From the Heart, Crary Art Gallery, a Nonprofit Art Museum, Warren, PA (forthcoming) April, 1-30
2022, Dayton International Peace Museum, Dayton, OH (forthcoming)
2021, Bahai House of worship, Wilmette, Il
2015, Education is Not a Crime Campaign, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
2014, Crisis and Victory, Open House Gallery, Cambridge, MA
2013, Crisis and Victory, Open House Gallery, Pune, India
2010, Ceramics Exhibition, Alborz Ceramic Company, Tehran, Iran

Selected Group Exhibitions

2022-2023, Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art, Chicago, Ill (forthcoming)
2022, Atelier Montez, Rome, Italy (forthcoming)
2022, Kiechel Fine Art, Lincoln, NE (forthcoming)
2021, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Champion of Justice, Promoter of Unity, Exemplar of Service, Green Acre A Baha’i Center of Learning, Eliot, ME
2016, MFA Thesis Exhibition, Cyclorama, Boston, MA
2015, Violence Transformed, The Resnikoff Gallery, Roxbury Community College, Boston, MA
2015, Body of work, Massachusetts State House, Boston, MA
2015, Students Curate Students, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
2015, First Year MFA Exhibition, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
2015, SMFA Medici and MFA Museum Council Mission Hill Open Studios, Boston, MA
2014, Art Sale, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
2014, New Student Show, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA

Awards/Fellowships/Residencie

2021, Merit award from the Pinacothèque Art Museum in Luxembourg
2021, Finalist Prisma art prize 2021
2016, The Romero Award, MA
2014, MFA Scholarship, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA

Artist Talk/Presentation

2023, Crary Art Gallery, a Nonprofit Art Museum, Warren, PA (forthcoming)
2022, Dayton International Peace Museum, Dayton, OH (forthcoming)
2016, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
2016, Remarks at AJC Boston Diplomats Sedar, Boston, MA
2016, Graduation Speech at the Masters SMFA graduation ceremony, MFA Boston, MA

Professional Experience

2021, Teaching online private class on Portrait and Figures
2021, Teaching online private class on Foundational of Virtual Art
2016, Teacher assistant of Charles Goss (The Bridge DRW 1002 01)
2015, Graduate Teacher Assistant of Magdalena Campos-Pons (Painting & Drawing Practicum)
2015, Scholastic Program, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
2014-15, Sales Associate, Goya Exhibition Shop, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
2014, Assisting Art Installation, The Drawing Center, New York City, NY
2012, Graphic Designer, Bahá’í Academy, Panchgani, India
2011, Graphic Designer, The Gardener of Art Studio, Tehran, Iran
2010-11, Accountant, Rafooneh Company, Tehran, Iran
2010, Assistant Planning Manager, Rafooneh Company, Tehran, Iran