Nina Ghafari (1989) is a Persian artist based in Stavanger Norway. Ghafari’s work is a raw and often painful testament to her unfiltered exploration of memory and self through text and image. A self-taught artist whose short-lived spell at art school showed her that the teaching of “art” for some social classes, was nothing more than an attempt to condition and mute the often brutal realities and associated creativity of those operating outside mainstream hegemonic culture. In her case, this concerns second-generation immigrant outsiders with a passionate need to express themselves.
With no established anchor into the prevailing culture, Nina Ghafari rejected the teaching of a traditional Western historical fine art narrative and set out on a journey of her own. This journey, riotously and violently laid down in a series of paintings, sculptures, assemblages, and text, is an expedition that explores and shines a light on the stark realities of operating on the margins of society. It’s at once both passionately introverted and personal whilst at the same time fiercely engaged with highlighting the entrenched inequalities found within our current political and social institutions.
Formally, comparisons with the likes of Karel Appel’s Cobra group and the stylings of Art Brut and Art Povera’s assemblages may give us a basic idea of the formal frameworks, but all fall criminally short of conveying the raw power of art produced against the backdrop of crumbling 21st-century neoliberal ideologies. Contemporary Art’s complicit and vapid embracement of commerce and style in a hegemonic culture of Biennale’s & white cubes where everyone is going to the art fair is being rightly challenged by a new breed of artist whose work demands to be seen, whether on the streets, or in the recent explosion of small independent publishers, galleries and project spaces dedicated to providing a platform for this generations voices.
This type of work doesn’t come easy, the tap of information is flowing constant, the thinking, the persistent rumination, the self-criticism and self-doubt and yes, the suffering, is inseparable from the work itself. But as someone once said, “If you’re at the cutting edge, then you’re going to bleed.”
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr once said “human salvation” “lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted”, it’s here where Nina’s work is proudly and loudly situated.