August 20, 2023–June 23, 2024

The Banner Project: Sheida Soleimani

Based in Providence, Rhode Island, artist Sheida Soleimani (b. 1990) constructs elaborate and surreal tableaux in her studio. She then photographs these meticulously prepared sets, which incorporate mixed-media backdrops, props, and symbols. Models are central to each scene, but their faces are always hidden, providing an air of anonymity, if not universality, and shifting focus to their gestures.

For her “Banner Project,” Soleimani has photographed her parents with their backs to the camera, each raising a single fist. This pose, often associated with solidarity and unity, is one of many clues in the pictures that indicate her parents are political dissidents: Iranian refugees who fled their home to avoid persecution. Soleimani’s photographs shield her parents while providing suggestive, layered signs pointing to the sociopolitical landscape that shapes their lives. Picturing a variety of objects—each a different material representation of Soleimani’s parents’ experiences and stories—these banners invite visitors to follow traces, unpack allusions, and draw connections to the wave of protests taking place across Iran today.

This is part of an ongoing series of commissions that engages artists to create banners for display in the Museum’s Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art.

  • Eunice and Julian Cohen Galleria (Gallery 265)

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Supported by the Trust Family Contemporary Exhibition Fund.