A solo exhibition by Negar Monaghy
November 19 – January 14
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The series of paintings in Stolen Identity, tell the story of my experience growing up in Iran. As a child and young woman, I never experienced strong religious feelings, which made me feel disconnected from Iranian society. Feeling like an outsider, I refused to accept the terms imposed by the government.
Growing up in an accepting and open-minded family, I saw people like us fighting back against the regime and religious government, but this still didn’t influence change. Not seeing any progress made me feel hopeless. I was lost between experiencing the freedom my family allowed me and the restrictions of a patriarchal society.
Employing art therapy techniques to create a space for mindfulness and encourage emotional expression, I painted textures and colors, light and shadows to bring to life the figurative characters in my pieces. Together, these works reflect my experience of feeling lost and hopeless in a place where living as a woman meant living a life with no opportunity for self-expression or individuality. These paintings were created in a time during which I fought to express my uniqueness but also tried to keep it hidden while dreaming of immigrating to a free country and experiencing real life.
About the artist
Artistic inspiration began at an early age for Negar Monaghy. Growing up in Iran, she was surrounded by nature, mountains, and Persian culture and traditions in a Muslim-controlled government. This experience influenced her artistic practice and continues to define and inspire her artwork today. As a young woman, she found her most natural form of expression through her innate artistic abilities. She explored drawing and painting with precocious determination and curiosity while struggling to engage in a society where she did not fit. Throughout high school, a career in art seemed inevitable. Expression through art and colors allowed her to be wild and resist the forced religion-controlled government. She obtained an Associate Degree in industrial design and in 2007, she began painting professionally, creating work that portrayed the human emotions she observed in Iranian society. She was ready to give color to the world but the figurative characters in her artwork and the stories behind them were not acceptable by Iran’s government and rules. She never got a chance to exhibit her work until she moved to the United States in 2016.