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Orkideh Torabi

Blurring Boundaries: A Theatrical Journey Through Cultural Identity

Inspired by traditional Persian miniature paintings, this large-scale depicts the rooms a vividly-detailed bathhouse in a split-scene style, filled with illustrations of men. .

Tuesday, September 26, 2023
5:30 pm


In-person Event

Rackham Amphitheatre
Rackham Graduate School
915 E. Washington Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109


Penny Stamps Speaker Series
Open to the public
Free of charge
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Iranian artist Orkideh Torabi’s work is a captivating exploration of the intersection of personal narratives, cultural heritage, and societal norms. Through her vibrant and intricate paintings, Torabi challenges traditional notions of femininity, power dynamics, and identity. Her unique artistic style blends elements of Persian miniature painting with contemporary imagery, blurring the boundaries between the past and the present.

Drawing inspiration from her Iranian heritage, Torabi explores themes of cultural identity, diaspora, and the tension between tradition and moder​nity​.In her artistic practice, she embraces the role of a storyteller, recognizing the integral role that narration plays in her paintings. For her, the canvas becomes a stage, and her paintings take on the essence of a captivating play or theatrical scene, with these characters serving as the ensemble cast, each playing their distinct role.

Torabi obtained her Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree in graphic design and illustration from the University of Art in Tehran and served as a faculty member there before making the decision to relocate to the United States. In pursuit of this goal, she completed her second MFA degree in 2016 at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Presently, Torabi resides and works in Brooklyn, New York.

Torabi’s work has been featured in publications such as the Los Angeles Times, Juxtapoz, Hyperallergic, and Chicago Reader Magazine, showcased her works through various solo exhibitions and group shows including Nino Mier Gallery in Germany, Richard Heller in Los Angeles, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA), Chicago Cultural Center, Nino Mier Gallery in Los Angeles, Fredericks & Freiser in New York, and Spurs Gallery in China, among others.

Presented in partnership with the University of Michigan Institute for the Humanities and the Institute for Research on Women & Gender, with support from the Arts & Resistance LSA Theme Semester. This project was made possible by a grant from the Arts Initiative at the University of Michigan.

Series presenting partners: Detroit Public Television and PBS Books. Media partner: Michigan Radio.


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In accordance with the University of Michigan’s Standard Practice Guidelines on Freedom of Speech and Artistic Expression, the Penny Stamps Speaker Series does not censor our speakers or their content. The content provided is intended for adult audiences and does not reflect the views of the University of Michigan or Detroit Public Television.