Pantea Karimi in studio

Statement and Bio

Pantea Karimi is a multidisciplinary artist, researcher, and educator based in San Jose, California. She worked and studied in Iran and the UK before settling in the US in 2005. Karimi researches Persian and Western historical documents and early illustrated scientific manuscripts for their unique representation of knowledge in visual forms. She primarily focuses on geometry/math and medicinal botany, subjects her family passionately introduced her to as a child, and they resonate with her cultural heritage and way of thinking. Her compulsion to explore her past is an investigation of her identity that simultaneously celebrates her cultural heritage and protests her life experiences as an Iranian woman. Utilizing a variety of media from virtual reality, animation, sound, drawing, and print to performative video and installation, her body of work includes multiple thematic series. Within each, she transforms scientific subjects into images and visual narratives often influenced by immigrating twice, her upbringing in post-revolutionary Iran, and historical and contemporary geopolitical tensions.

Karimi’s works have been exhibited in solo, group, and traveling exhibitions in Iran, Algeria, Germany, Croatia, Mexico, the UK, and the United States, including San Jose City Hall, San Jose Tech Museum of Innovation, San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, New Bedford Art Museum, San Diego Museum of Art, Montefiore Einstein, and Rotch Library at MIT. Karimi’s works are held in private and public collections at YouTube, Stanford University, University of California San Francisco, and University of California Davis. KQED Arts & Culture published an article on Karimi’s 2022 Woman, Life, Freedom work followed by a live interview on KQED Forum, aired on April 26, 2023

Karimi is a 2024 City of San Jose Creative Ambassador, a 2023 Kala Art Institute Honoree, and a 2019 Silicon Valley Artist Laureate. She is the recipient of Pollock-Krasner Foundation Artist Grant (2022), City of San Jose Arts and Cultural Exchange Grant (2019) and Artist Residencies at MASS MoCA (2022 and 2024), Santa Fe Art Institute (2024), Montalvo Art Center’s Lucas Program (2024-2026), University of California San Francisco Library (2021-2022) and Kala Art Institute Fellowship (2017).

Karimi holds Master’s Degrees in both Graphic Design and Fine Arts and is a member of the international Substantial Motion Research Network, affiliated with Simon Fraser University in Canada, and an Adjunct Faculty of Studio Arts and Digital Media at the College of San Mateo, California.



50-word Statement:

Karimi’s family and life experiences as a two-time immigrant have influenced her approach to artmaking and her research in geometry/math and medicinal botany. Her multimedia work transforms scientific subjects into images and visual narratives informed by her upbringing in post-revolutionary Iran and historical and contemporary geopolitical tensions.



Photos by Carolina Porras Monroy, Studios at MASS MoCA, May 2022.