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Raheleh FIlsoofi

2021 State Fellow

Raheleh FIlsoofi

Recipient Information


Nashville, Tennessee



Year of Award


Grant or Fellowship

Southern Prize and State Fellowship

Grant Amount


Artist Biography

Raheleh is a collector of soil and sound, an itinerant artist, feminist curator, and community service advocate. Her work synthesizes socio-political statements as a point of departure and further challenges these fundamental arguments by incorporating ancient and contemporary media such as ceramics, poetry, ambient sound, and video. Her interdisciplinary practices act as an interplay between the literal and figurative contexts of land, ownership, immigration, and border.

Her work has been shown individually and collaboratively both in Iran and the United States, including the recent interactive multimedia solo exhibitions Inh(a/i)bited, an interactive multimedia installation in Spinello Project Gallery in Miami (2020), and The Overview Effect, an interactive Multimedia Installation in Betty Foy Sanders Gallery at Georgia Southern University (2019). Filsoofi’s ‘Imagined Boundaries’, a multimedia digital installation on border issues, consisting of two separate exhibitions, debuted concurrently in a solo exhibition at the Abad Art Gallery in Tehran and group exhibition (‘Dual Frequency’) at The Art and Culture Center of Hollywood, Florida in 2017. The installations in each country connected audiences in the U.S. and Iran for few hours on the nights of the show openings. Her multifaceted curatorial project ‘Fold: Art, Metaphor and Practice’, which engaged over 20 artists, scholars, and educators in exhibitions, performances, and lectures over a period of one year in Edinburg and McAllen, Texas, has been a milestone in her professional career.
She has been the recipient of grants and awards, including the South Florida Cultural Consortium Fellowship for Visual and Media Artists funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. She is an Assistant Professor of Ceramics in the Department of Art at Vanderbilt University. She holds an M.F.A. in Fine Arts from Florida Atlantic University and a B.F.A. in Ceramics from Al-Zahra University in Tehran, Iran.

Artist Statement

Through years of multi-disciplinary practice, I’ve managed to keep pace with the rapidly changing socio-political debates around the world and their relative expansive influences on human conditions. Immigration, borders, and cultural communications are today’s most fundamental discourses, which are immensely interwoven with notions of identity, belonging, and inhabitation. Therefore, art could be an intermediary language shared between individuals, nations, and cultures, addressing these issues by touching the innermost layers of personality.

I’ve utilized different aesthetic strategies by experimenting with materials with wide ranges of relevant applications to my subject matters such as ceramics, poetry, and ambient sound and video, with a focus on representations of the ways I have negotiated and accessed concepts of heritage, place of origin, orientation and cultural adaptability. My multimedia installations rooted deeply in my cultural background and acquired a new identity as an immigrant; aiming to challenge the viewer’s standard point of view and personal perspectives. These interactive pieces invite the onlooker to delve into my recollections of sense, sound, and place and mementos of my journeys across the national and international borders.