Mashrabiya: The Art of Looking Back

Saturday, February 18, 2017 (All day) to Thursday, March 16, 2017 (All day)
Image of Sanaz Mazinani's artwork Threshold
Using the architectural form mashrabiya as a visual trope, this exhibition shows artwork that complicates Western paradigms of viewing and representing Middle Eastern and Islamic culture. Found throughout the Middle East, the mashrabiya is a projecting window that is screened with intricate latticed designs in wood. It is used to shield the domestic space from the public gaze, while allowing the inhabitants to survey the street below unseen. Curated by Santhi Kavuri-Bauer, Kathy Zarur, Sharon Bliss and Mark Johnson. Reception: February 18, 1 - 3pm. Gallery hours: Wednesdays - Saturdays, 11am - 4pm. Free.
Fine Arts Building, Fine Arts Gallery
Fine Arts Gallery, Instructionally Related Activities Fund
Fine Arts Gallery
Event extras: 

The mashrabiya and its attendant practice of looking form the conceptual basis for this exhibition. The artworks implicate the viewer as both witness and participant in a dynamic, responsive form of looking. Who has the power to look? What social conditions arise from the dynamics of looking and being seen? What is the responsibility of the viewer in this power dynamic?

The exhibition celebrates the establishment of a center for Iranian diasporic studies at SF State in the coming year, an initiative funded by alumna Neda Nobari (B.S., ’84). The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of programs including lectures, performances and panel discussions in the gallery, as well as a related education conference co-sponsored with the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.


Related events

  • The Art of Looking Back I, “The Artist as Interlocutor.” Conversation with Ala Ebtekar, Sanaz Mazinani, Santhi Kavuri-Bauer and Kathy Zarur, February 23, 12:10pm – 1pm, Fine Arts Gallery.
  • Visiting artist lecture by Taraneh Hemami. February 23, 5:30pm, Fine Arts Building, Room 296.
  • Workshop with Taraneh Hemami, March 9, noon, Fine Arts Gallery.
  • The Art of Looking Back II, “New Approaches to Curating the Region.” Conversation with Carel Bertram, Deena Chalabi, Santhi Kavuri-Bauer and Kathy Zarur, March 16, 12:10pm – 1pm. Fine Arts Gallery.

News release

SF State Exhibit Explores Contemporary Art of Middle Eastern Diaspora through ‘Mashrabiya’

Image: Threshold by Sanaz Mazinani (detail). 2015.