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Sanaz Haghani

Web Link:
Instagram: sanazhaghanin


Sanaz Haghani has MFA with Distinction in printmaking + Book Arts from the University of Georgia, Lamar Dodd School of Art. She holds a BFA in Graphic Design from Sooreh University in Shiraz, Iran. Currently she is working as adjunct professor at the department of Printmaking and book arts, University of Georgia. She also was an Instructor of Record in Foundation Drawing at Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana. She worked as a graphic designer for eight years in Iran where she also taught Graphic Design and drawing courses. Haghani has presented her works across the United States and participated in exhibitions at the Georgia Museum of Art, and Missoula Art Museum. She will present her works at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, the Morgan Conservatory, and Robert C. Williams Museum of Papermaking, in 2020. She has also presented her works in international exhibitions as multiple solo, group, and competitive participant. She has been featured in “Paper Routes – Women to Watch 2020” and “Voyage Atl” magazine.

The mysterious veiled Muslim Iranian women that captured Haghani’s attention since she was a little girl continue to flap around the edges of her mind. Going out with her mom and seeing these dark clothes everywhere, pressed in on her even then. She grew up playing with these forms in her subconscious. As she grew older, Haghani started thinking about the doctrine of the chador - large garments meant to be draped over a woman’s head and upper body - and the ways this specific piece of clothing influenced and shaped her identity. Each part of her works is constructed to magnify the contradictions of the chador. In her works, different shades of chador transformed to a symbol of chastity and pietism into a cultural icon, political manifesto, and finally related to the mental and emotional state of identity. Through her works she tries to talk about different women life stories and life styles. She focuses on women who changed their lives despite their limitations and their life situations that make them unaware of their values as human being.


I am a wave;
never here, never there!
I am still nowhere!
dragging, then fleeing away,
Watching me
from far and wide,
in your seized eye,
I am a rebellious tide-
in an eternal glide.
-Forough Farrokhzad

*Forugh Farrokhzad was an influential Iranian poet and film director. She was a controversial modernist poet and an iconoclast, writing from a female point of view. Her poetry was banned for more than a decade after the Islamic Revolution.

My work reflects the women in my life. They are the waves along the shore; always there, sometimes gentle, sometimes furious.

I am from Iran, a country full of colors and poems. A country with a history layered with Gods and blood but it is also a country tough with the scars left by time. A land where peace is fleeting. It is a place where wars, waged for thousands of years, leaves a taste as familiar as the tea we sip.

I want to show the level of darkness in women's lives. I want to show how hard it is to be forced to hide all your emotions and beliefs and how this can affect your life causing you to live like a ghost, without spirit, being coerced and controlled. I try to give these women a voice, to make a remarkable piece of work that explores the identity of women in relation to their society. I attempt to address the theme of the alienation of women in repressed Muslim societies.

I was born during the Islamic revolution in Iran and grew up during the eight-year war with Iraq. My childhood memories are full of contrast between different cultures from the Shah Regime and Islamic Regime. The mysterious veiled Muslim Iranian women that captured my attention since I was a little girl continue to flap around the edges of my mind. Going out with my mom and seeing these dark clothes everywhere, pressed in on me even then. I grew up playing with these forms in my subconscious.

My work focuses on women who changed their lives despite their limitations and life situations that make them unaware of their values as human being. I want to tell the story of their lives. I experienced the same situation, the darkness and repression all around me, and because of that I have the vocabulary to explore the emotional and mental state of these women as well as the grindingly spectral atmosphere surrounding those harsh attitudes. Inspired by the dark colors of the clothing that the Iranian women must wear, my intention is to show the figure of a woman in that dress.

Maybe the idea behind my works is finding myself. When I say, myself, I mean discovering my concerns as both a human being and as a woman. I am trying to find a way to echo my concerns about the women I continue listen to from 7,000 miles away … and I wonder what I can learn from these women’s stories?

I also want to show my vulnerability, my own female fragility so I use my art to articulate my own story. I try to illustrate the stories of women across my country who are struggling with a lack of human rights. I have been trying to find a way to show the oppressiveness I experienced in my life and I have issues working on this subject; questions about why I push myself to talk about the situation of women. I keep asking myself why it is so important for me to show these issues or these feelings. My concern is that it is so cliché or easy for me as a Middle Eastern woman to work on this subject matter. But in another view, I think the opposite: these women need a voice, an audience, or maybe even an alarm to wake them up. As a woman, I learned to work hard and show all my abilities. I learned to be strong. As a woman, I learned to face my fears and my doubts, and explore the impossible.

I want to give my viewers my eyes, my heart, and my mind so they will know those pains and they will understand the darkness of those forces. I want them to discover the figures lurking in my works. As they become immersed in my prints, I want my viewers to experience the work as random and haphazard, swallowing them and causing them to feel lost. I want them to touch my works, to discover them and to feel them. Each piece is intended as an invitation to its audience, an invitation to explore. Since I left my home there has been one constant – who I am – I am a wave.


Project Descriptions

The Unconscious
Book Art: Lithography and Screen print
15" x 15"

Book Art: Monoprint and Screen print
6.5" x 10"

Book Art: Monoprint and Screen print
6" x 10"

Book Art: Monoprint and Screen print
10" x 10"

Book Art: Lithography
6" x 11"

Red Moon
Book Art: Monoprint, Screen print, Marbling
4" x 11"

Forgotten Identity
Handmade Paper, Woodcut and Monoprint
Figures: 6" x 8", the hanging piece 36" x 30'

Behind the Darkness
Monoprint and Etching on Japanese Handmade Paper
36" x 120"

Being Denied
Etching on Handmade Paper
Each print 5" x 5"

Untitled - From the Bahar Series
Monoprint and Screen Print on Paper
Left image 15" x 22" - Right image 48" x 42"

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