Iranian American Women Put Protests at the Center of New Work
by Justin Ebrahemi
‘The struggle continues’
For many women who grew up in Iran, subservience was inculcated at an early age. “Learning was intertwined with religious indoctrination,” says Pantea Karimi, a San Jose visual artist who left Iran in early 2001 after experiencing harassment on multiple occasions from the morality police. “I was subjected to this systematic brainwashing to make me a religious female product.”
Now, Karimi draws from her experiences in post-revolutionary Iran to create work that simultaneously celebrates and protests Iranian life. One symbol reappears: the Kaaba (or “cube” in Arabic), the most sacred Islamic site.
“Some of the women, cutting their hair, had tears in their eyes, and their hands were shaking,” Karimi recalls. “It’s a meaningful gesture, when a woman cuts her hair in solidarity.”
Breaking the Cube: A Perspective on Women, Life, Freedom
by Tachiya Bryant
Breaking the Cube: A Perspective on Women, Life, Freedom
“All these years being outside Iran, I thought I had escaped the coercive force of compulsion, but the death of Mahsa Amini took me back to the first time I had to wear the mandatory hijab at school and other public places in Iran when I was a small child. The upheaval and the flashback took me to a very dark, emotional place. As a female artist who also had firsthand experiences with the morality police, I was compelled to respond and extend the exhibition’s content.”
Run-ins with the morality police are not only anxiety-provoking but can be life-threatening for women. Pantea’s visit to Iran in 2016, almost prevented her from leaving the country. Pantea wore clothing to the airport the morality police deemed “Too tight” and was kept in a room and questioned for more than 30 minutes. The female officer refused to release Pantea despite her superior’s orders. After a shouting match, the officer decided to follow directions and release her. She has not been back to Iran since.
Karimi’s latest exhibition is not the first acknowledgment of Iran’s current events. Naked Cube was a dedication to Iranian women, girls, and her cousin, Sadaf attacked by the morality police in Shiraz, Iran October 9th. On October 6th, Pantea Karimi sporadically filmed her friend cutting her hair and donating it for her artwork.
Black & White
Rediscover Visual Arts at These Reopened Galleries
By Jonathan Curiel
Pantea Karimi’s exhibit at Oakland’s Mercury 20 Gallery, “The Unbearable Lightness of Mathematics,” is a reconstruction of her school life in Iran during the late 1980s, when she struggled with the pressures of science education and struggled with the school administration’s attempts to root out her growing, teenage interest in the music of Madonna and Michael Jackson. A clash was inevitable, and Karimi, who now lives in San Jose, tells visitors how it ended through a sequence of 10 mock blackboards with mathematical formulas that gradually get more cloudy — with the final board almost completely shrouded in a chalky fog.
Iran’s 1979 revolution ushered in strict religious standards, so the Persian wording for “In the Name of God” shouts from each of the 10 blackboards. The first blackboard features a copy of Isaac Newton’s mathematical handwriting alongside Karimi’s Persian handwriting, which she uses to express her concerns about studying math and taking exams. Halfway through the 10 blackboards, two clouded photos of Iran’s religious leaders oversee the blackboards and a trove of Karimi’s personal objects from that time, such as Reebok sneakers and cassette tapes of U.S. pop stars.
The blackboards’ interplay of cloudy chalk, Persian lettering, and math formulas — and their sequential morphing from clearly visible to almost nothingness — is a kind of visual existentialism. This aspect of the work is underscored by the dark boards’ setting: a cavernous, white-walled space.
More than a decade ago, Marjane Satrapi’s graphic novel and accompanying film, Persepolis, made the world smile and cringe at her former life in Iran, including her student life. “The Unbearable Lightness of Mathematics” produces a similar effect — only this time, we’re asked to physically stand in a place that mirrors what Karimi felt three decades ago. The mirror gets fuzzy in places. But even hazy images produce meanings that are crystal clear.
STEAM POWER: Art and STEM as a vehicle for change
Articles By Francesca Bernardi, Alison Marklein & Anila Yadavalli
The combination of science, technology, engineering, art, and math — it fills the imagination, brings ideas to life, and makes us feel. Ask most scientists and they will tell you about their passion for research, the inspiration and excitement of discovery. Science and art are two sides of the same coin, and art can harness the power of emotion to elicit curiosity, discovery, and connection to science. Artists regularly tap into science to bring important societal issues like climate change to light and scientists integrate the creative process and art into their work. Collaborations among scientists and artists can reach new audiences, bring forth new ideas, and change the way we think about both science and art. Here are some of the amazing projects that have been inspiring us with their love for science, technology, engineering, art, and math.
San Jose Museum of Quilts + Textiles:
The San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles recently held a solo exhibition called The Forgotten Women of Science by the Iranian-American artist Pantea Karimi. The exhibition featured women scientists from the second to nineteenth century and highlighted their contributions to science. The collection drew on the artistic and scientific talents of these women and included installations of embroidered hoops with laboratory notebook drawings, vials of medieval medicinal recipes, and panels with the accomplishments of several women scientists in both text and image. On February 23, 2020, the museum and the County of Santa Clara Office of Women’s Policy co-presented a panel discussion, Women Scientists: Vision & Visibility, with the artist (Pantea Karimi), a science historian (Cassy Christianson), and a scientist (Dr. Suzanne Pierre), who discussed parallels between historical and current status of women in science. Even today, the loudest voices are rarely representative of the scientific community or the broader communities science serves and women continue to be underrepresented. Exhibits like The Forgotten Women of Science at The San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles are using creativity to amplify marginalized voices and pushing for science to be truly representative.
Interview with Pantea Karimi by Lily Jamali
The Forgotten Women of Science, a solo art exhibition at the San Jose
Museum of Quilts & Textiles
Euphrat exhibit honors ‘Women Pathmakers’
By Ann Gelhaus
Large-scale digital illustrations on fabric by Pantea Karimi depicting both early computer scientist Lovelace and Hypatia of Alexandria, a Hellenistic Neoplatonist philosopher, astronomer and mathematician who was murdered by Christian detractors. Karimi’s series “The Forgotten Women of Science” is on view at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles through March 1, 2020. “These women did not just assume marginalized roles in the male-dominated fields of science,” Karimi said in a statement. “They were also pioneers and generators of cutting-edge ideas.”
Library astronomy manuscripts in new visual forms
Solo exhibition Countdown: Biruni-Galileo-Apollo by Pantea Karimi
Published by the British Library Asian and African studies blog, 2019
The Iranian-American artist Pantea Karimi’s recent solo exhibition Countdown: Biruni-Galileo-Apollo at the Mercury 20 Gallery in Oakland, California, USA, was inspired by a study of several of the British Library’s scientific manuscripts which she reviewed during an extended visit in 2018. In this guest blog she speaks about this process and her work.
Two ancient manuscripts in the British Library drew my special attention and formed the foundation for my exhibition: the 17th century Italian physicist and astronomer Galileo’s De Mundi Sphæra Tractatus Autographus cum Figuris (Add MS 22786) and the 11th century Persian astronomer Biruni’s Kitāb al-tafhīm li-awā’īl ṣinā‘at al-tanjīm (Or. 8349). My multimedia works in the exhibition explore an ancient and enduring fascination with the moon in science, culture and language, while simultaneously celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Lunar Mission.
At Mercury 20 Gallery, boxes, moons and bits of nature
By Skylar De Paul
The Bay Area is a hot spot for some of the best art California has to offer, and Oakland, in particular, is peppered with local galleries that showcase the works of artists from all around the globe. One of such spaces is the artist-run Mercury 20 Gallery, which rotates its featured collections every six weeks. It opened its newest collection of exhibitions last month, featuring works ranging from astronomy-inspired graphics to distressing commentary on FedEx shipments.
Artist Pantea Karimi’s section of the gallery, titled “Countdown: Biruni-Galileo-Apollo,” is focused on the Moon. “I aim to use the Moon as the catalyst to bring poetry, art, and science together,” she writes in her exhibition description. In her art, the Iranian American artist shares her knowledge of astronomy through mixed media art pieces. Karimi includes passages from Persian poets in some of her work, as these writings were her introduction to astronomy when she was growing up in Iran.
Karimi pulled information and inspiration from the manuscripts of early scientists, such as 11th-century Persian astronomer Abū Rayḥān Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad Al-Bīrūnī and 17th-century Italian scientist Galileo Galilei. Karimi first attained access to these manuscripts during her time studying at the British Library in London last year, during which she researched both astronomers.
“I was enchanted by this sense of imagination these scientists had,” Pantea said, standing next to her creations in the gallery she oversaw for the day. She channels this imagination throughout her works, some of which also feature scenes printed in the graphic collage on fabric from the Apollo 11 Moon landing in 1969. Pantea said she hopes her art will “bring a thread between the East and the West” through exploring scientific interpretation. “You cannot say science belongs to this culture or that culture. … Science belongs to humanity,” she said.
Article by Nathan Zanon; Photo by Daniel Garcia
Iranian American visual artist Pantea Karimi began formally studying art at age 14 and never looked back. With the encouragement of her parents, she earned an MFA in graphic design from the Art University in Tehran before opening up her own studio there. In 2001, she moved to England to study printmaking while showcasing many of her own works in galleries and collections around the world. She continued her studies at San Jose State starting in 2005 with a second master’s degree in painting and printmaking. Drawn from an early age to her mother’s fashion magazines-not only for the clothing styles, but for the layout and design elements-some of Karimi’s recent work has brought this thread back into focus as she has studied various forms of print media from a design lens. Today, she is a sought-after speaker at museums and universities; she also teaches at the College of San Mateo and maintains a studio in Palo Alto.
“As an artist, I am naturally driven by my deep feelings and childhood experiences that have shaped my perceptions of the world. My work has been an exploration into the pages of medieval Persian, Arab, and early modern European scientific manuscripts. The scientific books from these periods offer nuanced understandings of the relationship between form and text, and above all, between scientific concepts and their manifestations in visual forms. I also draw inspirations from artists from around the world, my peers, and art genres. I am always thankful to the art communities that embraced me and contributed to my growth as an artist.”
Healing Garden, A Virtual Reality Project by Pantea Karimi
FEATURED ARTIST, Pages 36-41
BY Katie Mcgowan & Nina Dietz
Healing Garden is a virtual reality project that I envisioned in 2017 after the medicinal botanical gardens of the Alhambra Palace in Andalusia, Spain. Andalusia was the birthplace of the Herbal, which is one of the most remarkable manuscripts of medicinal botany in the middle ages. The book was composed by the 12th c. Andalusian physician and scholar al-Ghafiqi and was copied and read by many healers and physicians throughout the following centuries.
Wearing VR headset, participants “enter” the Healing Garden, which is a courtyard with white arches, and ten plant beds around a water fountain on a floor that is covered with Moorish tiles. They use their own hands to pick a series of medicinal plants and arrange them in the plant beds. Thus, they create a virtual garden as a metaphor for reconnecting with nature for healing. The plants are modeled after my screen-printed images on paper, which were inspired by al-Ghafiqi’s illustrations in The Herbal. Water and fountains were integral parts of medieval Islamic gardens and palaces of Andalusia. The sound of water fountains and the moving reflections of buildings, trees and flowers on its rippling surface contributed to a unique, calming experience for the residents. Similarly, in my VR Healing Garden, participants have the opportunity to listen to the sound of water fountain. The participant can then “walk” on the glowing Moorish tiles under the sun and pass through the Moorish arcades and enjoy her/his handcrafted garden from a short distance.
1979 Iranian Upheaval Resonates in “Once at Present”
Galleries at Minnesota Street Project showcase artwork inspired by the political and cultural changes in Iran since the 1979 Revolution
By Sura Wood
Twenty Bay Area visual artists of Iranian descent mark the 40th anniversary of the Iranian revolution in a contemporary art exhibition opening in multiple galleries at the Minnesota Street Project. “Once at Present” examines issues of migration, memory, history, the intersection of past and present and the cultural and personal implications of the Iranian diaspora.
“What people will see are similar experiences explored from very different perspectives,” says Taraneh Hemami, a local artist and educator raised in Tehran who co-curated the exhibition with renowned Bay Area curator Kevin B. Chen. “The work holds a lot of power because it comes from such a deeply personal place.”
In her work, Pantea Karimi addresses the emotional scars of the Iranian revolution both metaphorically and poetically. To create “Folding Gardens, A Stained Memory” (2017-19), she digitally printed black and white floral patterns, based on a 12th-century medicinal botanical manuscript, on long strips of transparent organza that hang on rods suspended from the ceiling. The installation, a maze of sheer curtains, gestures toward the healing properties of herbal medicine, a tradition reaching back to the Middle Ages that played an important role in her childhood in the southern city of Shiraz. “My idyllic life was interrupted by social upheaval that culminated in a decade of war and instability,” she recalls. Injured during the evacuation of her elementary school, she still remembers the blood stains on the classroom floor. Additional fabric strips depicting red tulips, an Iranian symbol of martyrdom, suggest the lasting effects of violence, and how the revolution left an indelible mark on her early life.
Mercury 20 Gallery’s ‘Self-Portraits in the Age of Selfies’ expands the scope of self-portraiture
By Camryn Bell
Artist Pantea Karimi created one of the exhibit’s most arresting pieces, offset in the gallery space by two small walls. Featuring digital archival prints of flowers arranged in circular fashion around a centerpiece, Karimi composed the piece as a reflection of the herbal medicine tradition in her hometown of Shiraz, Iran, as well as of her work researching medieval and scientific manuscripts. In this enclosed space, the piece takes up a sizable portion of the wall — yet another refraction of how the self-portrait can go beyond a physical representation and assume a more conceptual form.
“Self-Portraits in the Age of Selfies” is a comprehensive view of what self-portraiture can be, with a wide variety of pieces and perspectives on how we look at ourselves. Rather than indulgent or narcissistic, as selfies are so often seen, this exhibit is a celebration of self-interpretation and the many forms in which one’s self can be viewed.
The Journal of The California Society of Printmakers:
Marriage of Technology and Tradition
The Versatile Screen-print: High-Tech Tools & Traditional Forms
By Pantea Karimi, pages 30-33
Screen-printing in its essence is a marriage of technology (machines and equipment) and tradition (developing imagery through multiple graphic techniques and printing on paper), which makes the medium versatile and suitable for both crisp images and painterly effects. In recent years screen-printers also have used digital applications, which help add further complexities and possibilities to the production process. I am a screen-printer with an interest in using the screen-printing process as a base for creating both multi-media and mixed-media artworks. As an artist, I find the screen-printing medium has inherent qualities that motivate me and stimulate a particular creative thought-process.
In 2014, I began a new research project which revisits my earlier investigations in the history of Iranian print media. My work since 2014 has been an exploration into the pages of medieval and early modern scientific manuscripts, particularly Persian, Arab and European. I am intrigued by the complex expressions of medieval and early modern scientists through scientific illustrations and diagrams. This research project further compelled me to utilize different materials, experiment with novel ways of displaying my work and employ new technologies.
I have been using art installations, screen-prints on paper and other substrates, Virtual Reality and video projections to create a dynamic visual interpretation of the scientific concepts and ideas presented in the manuscripts. My research into the visual representations of medieval and early modern mathematics, medicinal botany, anatomy, optics and cartography is ongoing.
By David M. Roth
Printmaking rarely aspires to monumentality. Its history, with a few notable exceptions, is largely one of intimate works made either by dedicated printmakers or by painters seeking to expand their purview with help from master printers. Printstallations, a show featuring the work of eight such masters, upends that tradition by filling half the San Jose ICA with large-scale prints. They dominate entire walls, hang from the ceiling and activate floor space using a wide range of media and techniques, including photography, lithography, textiles, woodblock prints, computer-aided design, LED lights and much else. The exhibition is but the latest example of the ICA sidestepping staid white-cube displays in favor of more active modes of audience engagement. While size is a critical component, the strength of the show rests more with innovative processes than with expositions of sheer scale.
Pantea Karimi, a native of Iran, imprints floral patterns culled from a 12th century herbal medicine text onto translucent silk banners that hang from the ceiling. Her efforts, titled Folding Gardens, bring to mind those of another 19th century German photographer, Karl Blossfeldt. His precise shots of plants, achieved with a camera capable of magnifying subjects by up to 30 times their original size, revealed structural patterns never before seen.
Euphrat Museum’s fall exhibit explores kindness and hope
by Khalida Sarwari
Euphrat Museum of Art’s fall exhibit, titled “Kindness as Resistance,” features artwork by Bay Area-based artists that explore positive counter-narratives as a response to injustice or oppression. Pantea Karimi, a San Jose-based artist who teaches at Gavilan College and Cabrillo College, has several pieces in the exhibit, many of which were inspired by her childhood in Shiraz, Iran. Her works collectively attempt to engage four of the five senses: touch, sight, hearing and smell. Her most visible piece is called “Folding Gardens,” an installation of digital prints on silk organza, rods and threads that hang from the ceiling. The work is based on “The Herbal of al‑Ghafiqi,” a manuscript written by 12th century Andalusian physician and scholar Abu Ja’far al-Ghafiqi. “The idea is that someone can take these fabric strips in a folded manner and open them on demand,” Karimi said. “To me, it’s very poetic. It’s a metaphor for carrying the healing notion of nature. That’s why they’re printed on fabric so they can be folded.”
In this space, Karimi has the sound of a water fountain emanating from speakers. Alongside “Folding Gardens” is another piece that’s titled “Medicinal Herbal Volvelle,” an interactive wheel installation that reveals the healing properties of eight plants. And right next to that is a shelf that contains plant extracts—another interactive piece that invites visitors to open the bottles and take a whiff, a Shiraz-inspired piece of art, Karimi said.
Karimi developed these works this year as part of a six-month fellowship residency she completed at the Kala Art Institute in Berkeley. Her aim, she said, was to encourage people to engage with these concepts through the senses rather than just read about them online or in a book. “My main idea is basically that I would like to encourage people to get connected to the natural world,” she said. “The importance of connectivity with the natural world is the main idea behind this botanical work and also to highlight the ancient practices. I feel like in contemporary times, we are not connected to the healing aspect of nature. We are connected to the beauty of it and preserving it, but how about the healing aspect of it? So I wanted to highlight that through my work.”
University Gallery exhibit keeps spotlight on heartbreaking refugee crisis.
Stateless, group exhibition, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth
By Don Wilkinson
These are tumultuous times and there is an endless barrage of disturbing images that remind us how much misery and pain is in the world. One such haunting image surfaced in late 2015, when the world became aware of the photograph of a three year old Syrian boy Alan Kurdi. He wore a bright red T-shirt and he was face-down on the beach, like a discarded toy. He drowned in the Mediterranean Sea as his family fled crisis in the Middle East. That toddler could have been anyone’s son. But instead he became a symbol of something gone very wrong.
In an alcove, Pantea Karimi (sister of the curator) displays “Waters of Life, Waters of Death” in which a video projection of lapping waves on a tranquil beach is projected over black silhouettes derived from ancient maps of the Persian Gulf, the Caspian Sea and elsewhere. The sound that accompanies the video is soothing. But it would be a tragic mistake to get lulled.
Interview with Art Historian Dr. Staci Gem Scheiwiller
Punctum Caecum, a visual exploration onto the magical world of medieval and early modern scientific manuscripts.
A 32-page published catalog, 2016
How would you normally describe the body of work that you produce? What kind of artist are you?
Pantea Karimi: I have had a long-term interest in juxtaposed textual and pictorial elements. I am intrigued by the ways in which image and text interact and convey meaning. Following this interest, my current body of work explores the history of archaic technologies and investigates how older scientific knowledge was communicated through both image and text. I examine medieval and early modern scientific manuscripts–Persian, Arab and European–and the longue durée (long term) exchange of knowledge across these cultures. This process not only provides me with a great means to explore what I love–the relationship between image and text–but also expands my appreciation of science and its role in the visualization of abstract concepts. The scientific manuscripts are dynamic and engaging. Most of them are filled with beautiful drawings and calligraphic texts. Others include interactive devices, such as volvelles (paper wheel charts) that accommodated calculation in many diverse subjects and used beautiful images, calligraphic texts and numbers.
I am a printmaker and painter and I also hold a professional degree with work experience in graphic design, all of which have influenced my fine art aesthetic and practice. For the past few years, I have been using mixed-media techniques in my works, mainly a mix of silkscreen and monotype printing with watercolor and graphite on various substrates. Additionally as a graphic designer, I have always been intrigued by the design and layout of books and print media; my graphic design capstone project in 1999 was an exploration into the design and layout of nineteenth-century Iranian newspapers.
How is Punctum Caecum different from your earlier projects?
PK: My series Punctum Caecum, which means “blind spot” in Latin, is the result of my exploration of ancient Arab, Persian and European scientific manuscripts. “Blind spot” stands for both the Dark Ages and for when we turn a blind eye to the fluidity of exchange of knowledge between these various scientists. The scientific books from the medieval Islamicate world and early modern times offer nuanced understandings of the relationship between form and text, and above all, between scientific concepts and their myriad manifestations in visual forms. Medieval and early modern scientific manuscripts were composed of hand-drawn images and diagrams, as well as textual and mathematical explanations. Each page of these manuscripts often separated images and texts through both structural compositions and random layouts as they appear to our eyes. To reiterate, sometimes commentators penned their thoughts as marginalia, thereby initiating a dialogue with the reader. All the above attributions make this project not only different from my previous ones but also very special and fascinating for me to work with. This new project and research have elevated my inner awareness about the ways in which we communicate as humans and the many forms that this communication takes.
What were some of the driving forces behind Punctum Caecum?
PK: I came across an article in The Guardian about a new book, Mathematics and Art: A Cultural History by historian Lynn Gamwell. In the article, I encountered a quotation by Gamwell that deeply resonated with me:
“To research Math and Art I had to learn maths concepts like calculus, group theory and predicate logic. As a novice struggling to understand these ideas, I was struck with the poor quality and confusing content of illustrations in most educational books. So I vowed to create for my book a set of cogent math diagrams that are crystal-clear visualizations of the abstract concepts. As a lecturer at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, I wrote this book for my students, such as Maria, who told me she was never good at history because she couldn’t remember dates, and for Jin Sug, who failed high school algebra because he couldn’t memorize formulae. I hope they will read this book and discover that history is a storybook and that math is about captivating idea.”
In Iran, high school students are required to choose a major and stay with it for the entire duration of their education. By the age of 15, I had invested most of my free time in fine arts studio practice and had received music lessons on a regular basis. Despite all this, my parents wanted me to enter my high school’s natural sciences department, which prepared students for medical school. My parents were great advocates of art; however as pragmatists in a society that mainly praises doctors and engineers, they encouraged me to become a pharmacist. But their wish never came true. As years went by, I faced many difficulties and ended up switching fields of study on entering college. This was mainly due to the fact that the scientific concepts were not explained extensively or in a hands-on way, and rote learning was the main focus at the time. My biology and chemistry textbooks included images (albeit in poor black-and-white quality), and in hindsight, I recognize how those difficult and abstract scientific subjects spoke to me more vividly through images and diagrams. This relationship between visual representations and abstract ideas has continued to captivate me and has become the basis for my current research and work. As an artist, I am naturally driven by my deep feelings and childhood experiences that have shaped my perceptions of the world. So, my unsuccessful encounters with scientific subjects have always endured, and I am still in search of a way to overcome this shortcoming. Consequently, Punctum Caecum is somehow a personal journey.
What do you want viewers to take away after seeing Punctum Caecum? How do you expect viewers to relate to medieval and early modern depictions of knowledge in a contemporary context?
PK: All the pieces in Punctum Caecum collectively highlight a long-term flow of scientific knowledge and exchange of ideas across cultures. This series aims to initiate a dialogue with the viewer, communicating how knowledge transcends social, political, and cultural boundaries. By highlighting the medieval and early modern manuscripts’ visuals and other contents, I also aim to draw attention to these rich forms and to invite the viewer to observe science and its history through the process of image-making.
 Lynn Gamwell “Why the history of maths is also the history of art” The Guardian, December 02, 2015. Available at http://www.theguardian.com/science/alexs-adventures-in-numberland/2015/dec/02/why-the-history-of-maths-is-also-the-history-of-art (accessed December 10, 2015).
We’re the Center of the Universe!
By Jonathan Curiel
In Pantea Karimi’s new watercolor and silkscreen work called The Return of Geocentrism i, centuries of knowledge — and layers of meaning — flood across a celestial horizon that has the sun revolving around the earth.
The art is Karimi’s take on a 16th-century cartographic work by Portugal’s Bartolomeu Velho, who was envisioning a second-century idea by the Greek-Egyptian scholar Ptolemy. In Velho’s time, during the European Renaissance, knowledge was transferred through books translated over the centuries by Arab and Persian scholars who’d kept alive Greek theories that would otherwise have been lost. No Arab and Persian scientists. No European Renaissance.
Karimi is honoring this cross-century transference, where Velho was collaborating with Ptolemy through ancient scholars from the Middle East. But Karimi’s work, which is part of her art series called “Punctum Caecum” — Latin for “blind spot” — is also a sly commentary on today’s environmental concerns.”I use the title ironically,” says Karimi, who was born and raised in Iran and now lives in San Jose. “Because of all the problems that we have on Earth — climate-wise and scientifically — the return of geocentrism is a kind of metaphor. Do we have to pay attention to Earth again? Isn’t it Earth at the center of attention?”
Karimi will exhibit The Return of Geocentrism i and other work from her “Punctum Caecum” series at stARTup Art Fair San Francisco, which runs April 29 through May 1 in the Marina District and features many artists who don’t have traditional gallery representation.
Turning Words into Art Earns Local Artist Top Honors
By Matt Wilson
Visual, spoken and written symbols are a major source of inspiration for Pantea Karimi, who was recently named the 2010 Distinguished Artist of the Year by the Cupertino Fine Arts Commission. In a world dominated by so many symbols both visual and verbal, much of her artistic inspiration is drawn from the transmission of language. Mass media, published media and popular culture are consistent themes while global symbols often star as the main attraction in her art.