Farideh Sakhaeifar: ‘You are in the war zone’

Trotter & Sholer and KODA present, You are in the war zone, a solo survey exhibition by Farideh Sakhaeifar addressing the impact of war and the repercussions of displacement. 

Sakhaeifaris an artist and educator who employs a range of media to critique US foreign policy and the Western narrative of the war in the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA)region. Her creative practice includes sculpture, video, installation, collage, and collaboration with HEKLER, an artist-run collaborative platform fostering the critical examination of hospitality and conflict. 

See the exhibition at Trotter & Sholer, 168 Suffolk St. New York, NY, Wednesday to Sunday: 12:00 – 6:00pm, March 18-April 18.

Farideh Sakhaeifar You are in the war zone

This exhibition derives its title from, You are in the war zone (2016-2017), a series of silver gelatin prints of NYC’s everyday life overexposed and inscribed with hand-traced drawings from Syria’s civil war. The juxtaposition of who suffers and benefits from conflict is also on display in Pending (2016), a series of digital interventions on photographs of Syrian refugees at the borders of Turkey and Iraq sourced from The New York Times, Getty, and Reuters reports. The bodies of the refugees have been erased leaving only the objects that they carry to represent the violence and trauma experienced during their journey.

Toppled (2015) is a bronze statue of a faceless dictator in the moment before an act of iconoclasm. The absence of any specific oppressed people allows the sculpture to stand for the collective memory of rage and victory that gathers at the base of fallen monuments.

When pulling down a statue, a chain works better than a rope (2021) is a digital collage of defaced and destroyed statues around the world. The palimpsest of archival photography commemorates the collective “vandalism” done in solidarity and the pursuit of inclusion.

Acquired from the above by the present owner (2014) focuses on the [invisible] war and US sanctions imposed on Iran. In this documentary project, Sakhaeifar interviews people who have acquired US army gear from Tehran’s black market. The testimonies investigate the reasons behind purchasing and collecting the gear that is presented in wooden coffins, their portraits being drawn through the collection of objects they possessed. 

Politics of conflict, the heritage of war, and the feeling of displacement are recurring themes in Mute (2019), an earth-filled sculpture and accompanying performance video, Halabja (2018) and Sakhaeifar’s long-term collaboration with HEKLER highlighted by A People’s Tribunal: 28 Exhibits (2019), a performative tribunal that brought together artists, activists, and scholars to account for the impact of global counterinsurgency doctrine. With storytelling, installation, and song as “evidence,” the tribunal interrogated the rhetoric that has fueled the lasting trauma of the US war in Iraq while building a collective archive that fostered alternative spaces of restitution for evaluating the war on terror. 

Farideh Sakhaeifaris, ‘Halabja’

About Farideh Sakhaeifar

Farideh Sakhaeifar is a multidisciplinary artist, educator, and a core member of HEKLER based in New York City. Sakhaeifar’s work investigates the politics of conflict, collective history, and personal accounts.

She received her MFA from Cornell University (2011) and her BFA from Azad Art and Architecture University in Iran (2008).

Sakhaeifar was awarded the Shed first Open Call (2019) and has been an artist in residence at Queens Museum Studio Program (2018), Residency Unlimited (2017), BRIC media fellowship (2017), BRIC Doc Intensive (2017), and Workspace Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) (2012-13).



HEKLER is an artist-run collaborative platform that fosters the critical examination of hospitality and conflict. We support radical thought and international solidarity by collectively reimagining educational environments, community care, and resistance. HEKLER was initiated by artists Nataša Prljević, Joshua Nierodzinski, and Jelena Prljević in Brooklyn, NY (2018). 


About KODA

KODA is a social practice nonprofit arts organization focusing on conceptual mid-career artists ingrained in social justice. KODA offers survey exhibitions as well as tailor-made and community-based artist residencies, through collaborations with socially engaged partners. The nonprofit serves the community with contemporary art events and outreach to strengthen arts education. In its overall mission to support the artistic and professional growth of artists, KODA acts as a laboratory for creative concepts, reflecting its core values of curiosity and collaboration.


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