Ann Arbor Awesome Foundation funds immigration-themed exhibition at Ypsi Experimental Space

The Ann Arbor Awesome Foundation‘s monthly $1,000 mini-grant was awarded to the Ypsi Experimental Space (YES) on May 7, 2017, to support an upcoming immigration-themed art show by artist Parisa Ghaderi.

Ghaderi’s current work explores the existential and emotional complexities inherent in the act of immigration. Ghaderi will be collaborating with EMU political science professor, Ebrahim Soltani – who, like Ghaderi, is from Iran – to create a multimedia installation that aims to paint a personal portrait of immigration and loss. Ghaderi and Soltani attempt to transform a painful human odyssey into a visceral experience, highlighting the gap between immigration as a set of policies and as a human condition.

“Living in Iran and the U.S. has been an ‘in-between’ state of affairs for me: I never fully arrived nor fully left,” Ghaderi says. “In my work, I am dealing with emotional and physical distance, compounded loss, and the opacity of language; I explore moments of pause that are filled with vulnerability, silence, and contradiction.”

Ann Arbor Awesome Foundation trustees present YES founder Mark Tucker with his $1,000 grant.

Ann Arbor Awesome Foundation trustees present YES founder Mark Tucker with his $1,000 grant.

Ghaderi and Soltani create an “image-repertoire” (a phrase borrowed from Roland Barthes) which represents a set of realities in artists’ minds: the “imagined reality” of the loved ones who are physically and emotionally absent. In this exhibition, they disrupt an episode of a lost “reality” by manipulating photographs of that “reality” as its only “physical evidences”.

Ghaderi and Soltani’s unique installation opens on June 2nd – coinciding with First Fridays and Ypsi Pride – and will be open until June 23rd at YES, 8 N. Washington St., Ypsilanti, MI (just behind MIX).

Awesome Foundation funds will help cover the installation costs of producing this timely exhibition. The funds will go towards equipment that is necessary for supporting the video/sound tech elements in Ghaderi’s installation. The sound and lighting equipment will then continue to support YES’ future public art projects, including serving as a community arts space open to hosting, creating, and celebrating experimental arts related events. YES was set in motion (in the former Mix Theater space) in 2016 by FestiFools founder/creator Mark Tucker and filmmaker Donald Harrison.

The Ann Arbor Awesome Foundation is the Ann Arbor chapter of the Boston-based micro-philanthropic organization known as the Awesome Foundation. Each fully autonomous chapter supports awesome projects through micro-grants, usually given out monthly. These micro-grants, $1,000 or the local equivalent, come out of pockets of the chapter’s “trustees” and are given on a no-strings-attached basis to people and groups working on awesome projects.