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I would like to begin by thanking Artslant, the jurors and everyone involved for such an amazing opportunity! I made some great friends and learned both valuable life and career lessons. Thank you very much for the lovely apartment and for believing in me as an artist and my work.

It has been 10 days since my return from Paris and I  miss the cobblestone streets, the seine and the great weather. Montreal is super cold but spring is around the corner and only eleven days away! Ha! *Wishful thinking*

My residency project went really well! I made all my deadlines and I got some great feedback. The piece is done but now its just come down to a couple of aesthetic choices before i publish it on the world wide web.I finally decided that I will put it on Youtube and I think it will be the ultimate critique. Critique is such an important part of the process and I don't think any other work is more suited for this experiment than this piece. But I want it to be just right for posting, so I have decided to take a break until after my Toronto performance and revisit it. I will then make some minor changes and then post it on the blog. my website and Youtube by April 7, 2014. It will be nice to take that break and revisit the piece with a fresh perspective.  

I am currently in search of a computer programmer to tell me the best way to post it on Youtube. The best key terms to use and how I can also change my google name so that my full name doesn't appear on the page. I will also connect a link to my twitter so that people can tweet me their thoughts. If you are interested in adding me to twitter my name is: Elehrah.

So as a teaser, I have posted a few images to the blog. You will find them below and they can be considered documentation of the video; demonstrating the progession of the piece. 

If anyone has any suggestions, I would love to hear it or if you know of any computer savy individuals that you can put me in contact with. I would love that as well! 

Please don't be strangers in my life and I hope we cross paths again. If you are ever Montreal, I would love to meet you for a coffee or dinner!! Keep in touch!! 



Posted by Raheleh Saneie "Rah" on 3/10

Work in Progress

The editing is coming along great! I am just waiting for the music from a local Parisian musician named Mo Zimo. She is actually going to create a song just for the video! I am pretty excited to hear her sample. 

I am trying to make the video a little more ambigious , its very didactic and needs some mystery. Technically, this piece is the most advance yet. I have used mulitple clips, changed the pitch, added many filters and transitions and even sampled some stock footage. I have really gained a lot more knowledge on the FCP, which is fantastic! 

The greatest challenge though is to keep the viewers attention for the whole duration of the video, I had done several different takes from different angles and the constant movement, is very interesting. I did about 4-5 takes of the video and it took me about 7 hours to shoot so I have a lot of footage to work with.  

One thing I still haven't done is the photo series which I really want to do and will complete before I go. The main problem is that I need an assistant which is difficult to find as the people I have met here are all very busy and well they have been very helpful, some beyond my expectations. But I will get at least a few pictures done and there is one project that I will be doing on my own. I aim to finish that one. I will post those pics and the entire video on the blog.

I have really been thinking about posting the video on Youtube. The only problem is that its very controversial and I fear that it may be taken the wrong way, but I am thinking about providing a brief artist statement to occupany the video so that people understand my position. During my process, I have been considering that it may go on Youtube, so I have been very careful to create a piece that is Youtube appropriate.I have been been very critical and I hope that it shows in the work.





Posted by Raheleh Saneie "Rah" on 2/14



I am so very excited to announce that I am one of only five artists picked for FADO's "Emerging artists series: 11:45," that will be taking place at Xspace cultural centre in Toronto this March!! This durational performance is called "Ululation" and it will be my very first performance in Toronto!! Very excited! More info about the event coming soon!

Posted by Raheleh Saneie "Rah" on 2/5


Work in Progress



I haven't written much in this blog lately and that is because I have been working hard on my project. I have made a lot of changes from the rough draft. My critiques went pretty well and I received a lot of good feed back. Tomorow I will be shooting the final draft. I have the camera and lights and the set all ready to go! I am pretty excited but what is going to be the harder and more complex process is the editing. I am going to do a lot of video editing. Its going to be much more ambigious than the original draft. I felt that the other draft was much too literal. The message is still going ot be there, the humour all that.; just a little more poetic. I'm excited to post the video and I am still looking for a place in Paris to show the work. Fingers crossed I can make that happen too! Sadly, all the galleries I have contacted have their own programming but one place sounds hopeful. 

Posted by Raheleh Saneie "Rah" on 2/2

Anti-Racism and White Feminism


This morning I was having this very discussion with myself. I always had a hard time identifying with white feminism because I felt that they always spoke on the behalf of POC and rarely let us voice our concerns. People like Tim Wise, who is not a self identified feminist but is a white man and an anti-racist activist, is constantly speaking on behalf of POC. Why not let us do the talking and writing? If given the opportunity, our opinions because of our experiences with racism is much more valid than an individual that has just read the textbooks. How about being a proper ally and stand behind us instead of leading the march.

Posted by Raheleh Saneie "Rah" on 1/18


Fantastic Article by Gelare Khoshgozaran


"These “politically correct” contemporary Iranian art savants are often superficially aware of the post-colonial discourse, although, unsurprisingly, treat it as passé or “last-century.” Their gracious inclusion of “insider” voices in the discourse for the sake of authenticity, however, fails to exempt them from the underlying neocolonial tendencies in their approach. Today, Iran has become both a real and virtual destination for art lovers, collectors, scholars, critics, curators and artists. But the outcome of this kind of attention, and the endeavours of scholarly tourism, besides the harm it does to Iranian contemporary art3 is often no more than a repertoire, survey or a PowerPoint presentation of travel to that region."   -Gelare Khoshgozaran

Posted by Raheleh Saneie "Rah" on 1/18

12 Things You Should Never Say to an Artist. Huffington Post


I will also add some to the list:

"You studied art? What are you going to do with that?"

"You are an artist? Do you paint?" I hear this one a lot! There are many mediums for expression, we are not limited to painting! 

"So, to be an artist, what does that mean exactly?"

"I don't get your work.  But good for you for doing what you love."

Posted by Raheleh Saneie "Rah" on 1/16

Hijab and the Republic: Uncovering the French Headscarf Debate


Am excellent book I have been reading about the politics surrounding the veil in France. This debate has a long hsitory in France and this book provides an indepth analysis of both the state and individuals' arguments in regards to veiling and unveiling.

Posted by Raheleh Saneie "Rah" on 1/16

Alternatives of Love

A friend of mine messaged me this morning. She is living in British Columbia and I have not really been in contact with her much the past couple of years. She messaged me to tell me how proud she was that I was following my passion and congratulated me. I asked her what time it was over there and she said it was 1:30 a.m. Shortly after she started sending me excerpts from love poetry that she wrote fifteen years ago. I quickly realized that she was inebriated. But, it inspired me to also write a poem. I have never been good at love poetry. I think it is one of the hardest things to write. I tried to write a poem for my ex-partner once and it was so bad that I was too embarrassed to share it. My problem with writing about love is that its an emotion that I have had many times for people in the course of my life. I have loved my parents, friends and partners. But it was not something I was very good expressing in the form of a poem.

 I remember the first time I fell in love, at least  I thought it was love. I was in seventh grade and I had the biggest crush on one of my peers, Evan. Its funny because the only love poem I have actually written was for him. I know “him”!! Most people find it hard to believe that I ever crushed on boys. Crushing over boys as a kid made it difficult to “come out” as an adult. I will get back to that shortly. The love poem for Evan went something like this “Evan your eyes are as blue as heaven...I am infatuated by you.” I know its incredibly cheesy. I was absolutely obsessed with Evan. Evan did not reciprocate, in fact, he despised me and that made me like him even more. I did not question why I would like some one so much that even refused to be Romeo when our English teacher assigned us both to recite excerpts from “Romeo and Juliette” in class (she new I was smitten and was trying to help me out) but when he refused, she winked at me and continued the class. I remember feeling humiliated but even that did not stop me from drawing his name in my agenda or day dreaming about him in the lunch room. The problem with this kind of love is that as young girls we are conditioned to believe that when we fall in love  its okay to lose ourselves, to lose all sense of control and that loving a man and having him love you back is worth more than your dignity. I was also made to believe that I had to be dependent on a man to make me feel loved, to love myself and that if I was just a little bit more beautiful, I would be worthy of their admiration. We condition boys to be the opposite. To be cold, grounded, and to love at a distance. We tell them to never be emotional or to cry or to be sensitive or to express love. We teach men that love is about being independent and to take care of their dependent female other. 

Lets skip a couple of years and visit ninth grade. I met Danielle, in my eyes she was the most beautiful person I had ever seen. She looked like a mix of Drew Barrymore and Marilyn Monroe. Not only was she beautiful, she was also my friend and I remember one time she kissed me on the cheek and I felt something for her that I had never felt for another girl. I slowly started to ask myself questions and it did not take me long to realize why I liked that kiss so much. Growing up, especially with Iranian parents, I was never presented with any alternatives for loving. I was told only one story. A girl finds a guy, they fall in love, have babies and live happily ever after, the end. This is a story that I am sure we are all familiar and its cross-cultural. Now if only this story could be told once in a while: “You may fall in love with your best girl friend, sure you will suffer a life of stigma, but true love is worth fighting for regardless of gender. You may find yourself uhauling after a couple of weeks. You may want children and your options are adoption or surrogate, or you may not want to have children and thats okay too.”  These are all options, all great options, that were never once presented to me. 

Coming out was difficult because of the lack of options that I was given. When I came out, my mother cried and my father blamed it all on her. He was always working and she was the homemaker. My mother asked “what did I do that you ended up this way”  “is it because in our culture we separate the men and women.” She thought it was her fault and her parenting that caused me to be “this way.” At this point, I had been with my partner for three and a half years and I just did not understand how this came as such a surprise. “I live with a butch dyke in a one bedroom apartment! She comes over for family dinners, she has been my partner for three years!!” Denial. The thing is, my parents knew that Renee and I were together, they just did not want to believe it. 

So back to my love poem, I guess I never really identified with love poetry because of the commercialization and heteronormativity of love . The love that I learned about and was presented with was not inclusive. My experiences weren’t in the mainstream representation of love. But after a lot of heartbreak, I realized that I could not fully love someone else, until I started to love myself. Learning to love yourself is hard when you have been made to feel inferior.

 I have found love now both with myself and my partner. My current partner’s name is Lily and she is wonderful.  But we have a very healthy love. We are independent from each other. Which means, that we support each other and never let each other get in the way of dreams and goals. We love each other but we don’t lose our sense of self, worth or dignity. We understand that we are together but that we are not one being. We have a life together but we also have separate lives, with separate friends and we go out without each other. We travel together but we also travel alone. We sleep together, although for Lily that is a nightmare because I hog the bed and the blankets, so sometimes we even sleep separately, when she is fed up and cold and decides to go on the couch. Poor thing. I can’t help it, I am a horrible sleeping partner, I know that. Well the point of all this is, that the love I have now is from a Whitney Houston hit,  “Greatest Love Of All.”

Posted by Raheleh Saneie "Rah" on 1/13

My Process


I just wanted to take a moment and write about my project. I have been researching a lot and the script is going well. A big challenge for me is to write it using a language that is accessible. It is important that anyone who speaks English and from all walks of life can understand the message. I really want to reach a broad audience and not just those who specialize in race theory or feminist art. 

The script  is pretty funny but its missing a few "punch lines." It still needs a lot of work but its coming along and I believe it is good entertainment. I just do not know if some parts are too excessive. It is definitly didactic and in that sense it lacks subtlety and ambiguity. However, my character's personality is the opposite of subtle and I think in this situation, it may be good to be a little more direct. What was great about the last "Oriental Tutorial" was that it really crossed the boundaries of acceptability. The idea is to make the viewer laugh but also to make them self-reflect and I think using a more subtle approach may not be as effective.  

I am eager to get the rough draft done and I plan to have it finished and memorized by January 20 so that I can email it to my profs and get a mid critique. I am excited for the critique, especially from these two profs because I really value their feedback. They have both been very willing to help me as an artist even though I am not a student anymore. But I do want to give them plenty of time to look at the work and get back to me.

The space I found is perfect for shooting but because its such a corporate place, its been rather difficult getting a hold of the main representative. I am trying to figure out a plan two if this space does not work out. I found a hair salon that seems pretty willing, but I do not think the hair salon really makes sense with a make-up video. I am thinking about transforming a space in the apartment and creating a set that resembles a make-up studio. IHowever, I have never been good at set design but it may be good practice. 

Back home I intern with a photographer and he is amazing at set design and uses small props that he buys at discount stores and he really knows how to transform a space. It may be worth sending him a message. 

I will wait for the man to get back to me. I know he is very busy but in the meantime, I will continue my work. 


Posted by Raheleh Saneie "Rah" on 1/10

John Berger, Ways of Seeing, 1972


Part of my research for this upcoming project involves looking at how women have been represented historically and presently in visual culture. Sadly, not much has changed in five hundred years. In 1972, John Berger wrote the book "Ways of Seeing," and it may seem outdated, however,  one becomes witness to and finds many links about the treatment of the female body in both classic european paintings and images of woman in contemporary culture. The link I shared is for episode two but I would reccomend watching all four episodes. It is an excellent critique of the treatment of the women's bodies in  classical european paintings. However, what is lacking in his analysis is the treatment of women of colour's bodies in classical european paintings. He does show Ingres "La Grande Odalisque," 1814, but Berger neglects to comment on the context in which this image was created. He does not look at her environement, the props, or the romancitzation of the racialized character. That is my only critique of this video; overall it is an important discussion and these issues are relevant to present day culture.

Posted by Raheleh Saneie "Rah" on 1/9

Jean Kilbourne, Killing us Softly 4


Jean Kilbourne is an American author, lecturer and filmmaker. Much like John Berger, Kilbourne critiques imagery. She started a film series with her 1979 film, "Killing Us Softly."  Kilbourne illustrates how advertisements and images in pop culture perpetuate an unrealistic and unattaibale ideal of beauty and feminity. Unlike Berger, Kilbourne does highlight the misrepresentation of women of colour in advertising. One part of her analysis that is crucial to race theory and discussion is the concept of objectificaiton and dehumanization. Butler's  "Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning" similarly addresses how the west creates images of the east that are dehumanizing. By dehumanizng middle eastern people to the western audience, when unjust acts of violence are committed against these people, their bodies become ungrievable.Further, violence against these individuals becomes justfiiable because they are seen as a threat to the western world. Moreover, in many middle eastern cultures women wear the veil and are unidentifiable, because of this, they are also seen and treated by the west as inhuman and violence against women are similarily justified.

Posted by Raheleh Saneie "Rah" on 1/9

20100901065021-photograph Killing us Softly
I agree with you that the west does dehumanized middle eastern people and those that wear the veil to justify acts of violence.But, do these same people do the same, or demonize western people to justify their own violence. Both sides play the same 'game' to justify violence and the innocent on both sides suffer the consequences of power struggles.



My interview with Lital Khaikan from Guerilla Art Magazine. Published December 2013.


Shades of the Orient, Lightbox, 25x 40 inches. 


From the Exhibit "Transformer: The Body Remixed" curated by Jason St- Laurent.

Installatiion shots by Remi Theriault.

Studio Assistant: Sasha Vreca






Posted by Raheleh Saneie "Rah" on 1/1 | tags: digital photography conceptual performance installation mixed-media sculpture figurative

Dress up: Oriental Barbie


Dress up: Oriental Barbie was performed at the Williams College Museum of Art in Williamstown Massachusetts on November 21, 2013. For two hours, my character stood still and silent on a plinth while inviting spectators to play “dress up” with the body. On a nearby table, there were various accessories including scarves, makeup and brushes, and a blonde wig. On a garment rack there were traditional Iranian clothes, a chador and casual wear. I allowed the viewer to have full access to the body and complete control of representation.


Watch documentation  from the performance, filmed by Jane Burns below:

 Special thanks to PhD.Maurita.N.Poole, Rachel Heisler, and Sarah Margerum.

Assistant: Lilian Cardoso 




Posted by Raheleh Saneie "Rah" on 12/29/13 | tags: conceptual performance installation mixed-media sculpture figurative

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