Every week I’ll be spotlighting an artist here on the blog and posting links to their work throughout the week on our Facebook page. This week’s spotlight is on Najva Sol, a multi-disciplinary artist who explores issues of identity and gender through writing, performance, photography. . . and whatever else inspires her! If you’d like to be featured in an artist spotlight email info[at]mouthofthelion.com.
Tell us about your artwork. What medium(s) do you work with primarily?
While my art is in the stories I tell, the medium changes with every project. From instagram, to medium format film, to linocut, to chatting on a stage, to song- I never know what I’ll do next!
What are some people, events or things that have inspired you as an artist?
Older generations of awesome female artists from Nan Goldin to Shirin Neshat, the fabulous & non-fabulous experiences of my friends, contemporary creatives with insane work ethic like Monica Canilao, photographer Todd Seelie, projectionist Max Nova, Toyin Odutola- and then other things- like smoggy sunsets, the taste of salt water, heartbreak, twitter, ageism, food justice, purple, glitter, dubstep, modern dance, and my grandmother.
How does your identity as someone of Iranian descent influence your artwork?
I’m torn between two vastly different cultures. Iran/Persia is thousands of years old, I carry Rumi in my bones, my people were Zoastrian, fire, ancient. America is fresh and gritty, young. I am consistently inspired by the honesty, passion, warmth, and courage of Iranian people, but I am also aware that to the naked eye, I’m often told I “don’t look persian” because I’m not exclusively immersed in Persian culture. Since my work is often non-fiction, my struggles in the dual identity often come out through my writing or photos.
What projects are you working on now?
I have a longer term installation/performance based project around the concept of home that I’m really excited about (I can’t say much other than I will be attending some whirling mystical dance classes in preparation.) In terms of writing, I’m working on an ongoing story about teenage Persian immigrant girl in DC. I actually just finished a long photo project called “Transmography” for Lomography featuring fairytale portraits of the Gender-Fabulous. And lest I forget, I’m producing a video series called “Sabotage Cafe” with journalist Laurie Penny & countless awesome guests discussing rad topics- from student loans to the new masculine.
How can people keep in touch with you?
Najvasol on Instagram