ATLANTA—When Maryam Palizgir moved to the United States to pursue her graduate degree, she little knew that her experiences would have a profound impact on the content of her artistic portfolio. An Iranian citizen who moved to Atlanta in 2015 to earn her master’s, Palizgir received her B.A. in graphic design from Alzahra Art University of Tehran and graduates this month from the Ernest G. Welch School of Art & Design with an M.F.A. in textiles. She works in mixed media, and through her process of deconstructing and reconstructing an image, she explores identity, humanitarian principles, environmental issues, time and culture clash and individual perception.
“I found myself in a place of uncertainty of the possibility to visit my family and home town for an indeterminate time,” recalls Palizgir of her experience adjusting to a new culture, language and community. “This insecure displacement shaped the core of my first-year art practice and also impacted my thesis exhibition inspired by ways of seeing through displacement.”
Palizgir is a recipient of the program’s highest honor, the Welch Fellowship, which culminated in a solo exhibition at Gallery 72 featuring work that invites the viewer to share her uncertainty by challenging their sense of place and perception. “In an era of national and international tension, Maryam represents the pinnacle of what Georgia State stands for,” said Pam Longobardi, Distinguished University Professor/Professor of Art. “…fortitude in the face of difficulty, resourcefulness, positive energy, and exemplary moral character.”
Jess Jones, assistant professor in textiles, also spoke highly of Palizgir, “Maryam’s work has transformed over these three years, playing with how the viewer perceives pattern, space, and light, and deftly creating unique experiences in the gallery. Maryam is a master of illusions, putting materials together in ways that make me question what I see. It was my favorite part of studio visits—realizing that a line wasn’t a line, but a shadow—I enjoy responding to the puzzles in her work.”
Last year, she won first prize for conceptual arts in the 6th Iran International Green Film and visual art Festival (IIGFF6). Palizgir has exhibited her work in group shows in the United States, Iran, UK, France, Russia and Germany. She is a member of the Iranian Graphic Designers Society (IGDS) and the Institute for Promotion of Contemporary Visual Art in Iran. She was an artist in residence at the Cornelius Art Foundation in Lagamas, France in 2014, and received a grant from Triangle Network in London, UK for her Residency at The Cornelius Foundation in 2014.
Palizgir hopes to build a career as a full-time artist in her own studio, making a living through her art practice, though for now it has separated her from family and friends. “I have learned to see life as a passageway, with no fixed destination,” she says. “I tend to focus on the in-between spaces.” You can see more of Palizgir’s work on her website, https://www.maryampalizgir.ir/.
Photo Credits: Mohammad Jahangir
Director of Communications
College of the Arts