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Gibbes Museum of Art Announces Winner of 1858 Prize for Contemporary Southern Art



Press Release

The Gibbes Museum of Art is proud to announce Raheleh Filsoofi (right) as the 2022 winner of the 1858 Prize for Contemporary Southern Art. A self-described collector of soil and sound, itinerant artist, feminist curator and community service advocate, her work incorporates ceramics with sensory experiences for an interdisciplinary practice. Filsoofi will be awarded a $10,000 cash prize and recognized at the Society 1858 Amy P. Coy Forum scheduled for Feb. 10, 2023. Honorable mentions go to Sherrill Roland and T.J. Norris-Dedeaux.

“We are delighted to present this esteemed prize to Raheleh Filsoofi for her outstanding artistic achievement and contribution to a new understanding of art in the South,” says Angela Mack, executive director of the Gibbes Museum of Art. “We want to thank the finalists and all of the artists who submitted applications for the 1858 Prize this year. We were extremely impressed by their groundbreaking work and will continue to support the innovative work being created in the South.”

Filsoofi’s body of work examines issues of land, ownership and immigration to spur questions about identity, inhabitancy and belonging. She utilizes ancient and contemporary technology in ceramics with poetry, ambient sound and video to create a holistic sensory experience. Her art has transcended the realm of object making to multimedia installations with clay and sound being the nexus for holistic sensory experiences which engender new and critical narratives. Filsoofi focuses on creating community awareness and developing appreciation of natural resources.

Currently based in Nashville, Tenn., Filsoofi is an assistant professor of ceramics in the department of art at Vanderbilt University. An Iranian native, she has a deep appreciation of clay, both as a plastic material of enormous transformative potential and as a source of metaphorical content for the nature of the human body. Through an intentionally labor-intensive method, Filsoofi locates, excavates and harvests clay for production from various locations in the U.S. Her process embraces the sacredness of the land. The universal yet autochthonous nature of clay is familiar to Native American, Islamic and ancient Persian thought and is a place where disparate ideologies can meet in common wisdom.

Filsoofi earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in ceramics from Al-Zahra University in Tehran, Iran and a Master of Fine Arts from Florida Atlantic University. She is the recipient of several residencies and fellowships, including the 2021 Southern Prize, Tennessee State Fellowship and South Florida Cultural Consortium Fellowship for Visual and Media Artists. Her work has been shown individually and collaboratively both in Iran and the United States. Her recent multimedia exhibitions include Debated Narrative at Engage Project in Chicago and Imagined Boundaries, consisting of two separate exhibitions debuted concurrently in a solo exhibition at the Abad Gallery in Tehran and group exhibition at the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood, Florida.

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