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-bahar Acharjya

Bahareh Karamifar has exhibited nationally and internationally including at the Eli and Edythe Art Museum, Cowel House and (SCENE) Metrospace, East Lansing, Michigan, Loosen Art gallery in Millan and Giulio Cavazza gallery in Bologna, Italy, Club Solo in Breda, Netherlands, and CICA Museum in Korea. Her work has been reviewed and featured in magazines such as Muse and Code-Switch Journal of Visual Arts and Culture. She has won various awards including Vermont Studio Center Artist Residency Fellowship, James J. Rizzi Academic and Artistic merit scholarship, Special Research and dissertation completion Fellowship. In 2013, Karamifar received the “summer research abroad money” grant to travel to Mexico which was followed by a “research enhancement” award to further intensify her research for her MFA show.  In Mexico she traveled to ancient Mayan sites and studied healing properties and rituals and cultivated a connection to powerful energy vortexes in Oaxaca. These inspired her MFA thesis installation piece, “An Irreducible Fusion” in 2014.  In 2016 Karamifar completed a commissioned piece ” Inside Out, A Project for Celebration of Life”. She designed and built two large-scale murals for Clinical Translational Research Center in Gainesville Florida. For her MFA thesis show “If You Follow Me, You Will Be Rewarded With Two White Sugar Phalletitties, 2017″, She created a large-scale multi-media installation which included a wooden structure, sound, video and performance.  Inspired by white tantric yoga instructions delivered by the Kundalini yoga guru, Yogi Bhagan, via pre-recorded video as well as the works of philosophers Michel Foucault and Giorgio Agamben, Karamifar’s work addresses themes of healing, spirituality, biopower and sovereign power relations. Her piece has elements of middle-ages torture which still exist in un-democratic countries and the more subtle modern punishments and forms of discipline commonly witnessed in institutions like army, school etc.. Her works displays the contrast of sense of joy and ecstasy mingled with pain; humor with bitterness and darkness; impacts of an overpowering a guru/dictator; acts of controlling another person along with the effects of being controlled by another; power with vulnerability and selfhood with selfless. After graduating from the University of Florida, she travelled and explored the feminine aspects of herself. She spent a lot of time in isolation, meditation and research on Feminine Goddess archetype. This led to a new series of work related to her awakening to the feminine self reflected by deep connection to earth and journey to the realm of Heart. As a sensitive soul growing in Iran, at a very young age she was adversely affected by the religious dogmas restricting her flow of energy. She absorbed the feelings of shame and guilt and learnt to protect herself by hiding. It took years of healing and revelation for her to “own” her feminine power and realize that “human beings are divine in flesh, right now! here!”. In her recent work she is rectifying the ballant omission of the “sacred feminine” from socio-religious texts of patriarchal systems such as Islam and Christianity. She is challenging the exclusive depiction of “males” as divine figures. She is challenging the notion in these texts that sexuality is in contradiction to divinity for example in order for Mother Mary to be divine, she had to give a virgin birth. She addresses the rise of the sacred feminine from the dark, old, traditional, religious society of Iran.  In her work, the “old” is represented by the Persian miniatures of mosques, ayatollahs , bazars,  male prophets and legends And the “sacred feminine” by recent “photographic portraits”

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