UO art student awarded fellowship for international research

Farhad Bahram, a graduate teaching fellow in the Department of Art, has been awarded an Oregon University System Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund (Sylff) Graduate Fellowship for International Research, to begin fall 2013. The award carries a $6,000 stipend.

The intent of the award is "to nurture future leaders who will transcend geopolitical, religious, ethnic, and cultural boundaries in the world community for the peace and the well-being of humankind." Fellowships are awarded to full-time, degree-seeking graduate students for one academic year of scholarly endeavors in projects with an international dimension.

Department of Art faculty members Terri Warpinski, Dan Powell, and Tannaz Farsi “recommended Farhad almost simultaneously,” Powell says. “He is so deserving of this award.” Associate Professor Carla Bengtson said the Sylff award “is a substantial and rather rare award to receive. It is a wonderful recognition of the ways in which art can contribute to a global cultural exchange around topics that impact us all.”

ReversalityBahram’s proposal, “Reversality: A global project,” is “a sequential outline in five phases to put the participating artists through the process of self-identification.”

The project will invite ten to fifteen artists from different cultures to submit self-portraits, assigning a color that represents their identity. “In many cultures a portrait is directly connected to the way we determine our Self and our innermost beliefs,” Bahram wrote in his proposal for the award. “In this phase we will address how, in a multicultural setting, the act of portraiture has different meanings for each culture and how the psychological aspect of projection represents the ‘Integrating Self’ and individuation in different cultures.”

The second phase will address the evolution of site-specificity and its connection to self-identity by asking the same artists to provide another self-portrait showing themselves inside a historical site or cultural location. “Since the emergence of site-specificity in the early 1970s, the relationship between subjectivity and space has become tightly connected. Art practice tried to relocate the meaning from within the art object and also from the subjectivity attached to the identity of the artist to the contingencies of social context,” Bahram wrote.

The third phase will address the idea of dematerialization of the space and the notion of self-identity in relational aesthetics. The final two phases are in process but may involve “the function of social collaboration and the notion of dialogical identity.” The project will run through an international art group, Global Mission of Art, which Bahram established in 2009.

Bahram, an international student from Iran, began the MFA program at the Eugene campus in 2012.