This Storm Is You
SAMARA Contemporary is pleased to announce This Storm Is You, a solo exhibition of new work by photographer Zahra Saleki opening June 8th, 2019. This exhibition marks both the first solo gallery exhibition for Saleki and the first solo presentation by SAMARA Contemporary.
When someone immigrates, to them it can feel like they’ve died and been born again — and that birth and death are happening at the same time. Sometimes it is very hard to adjust and survive. This Storm Is You presents experiences and challenges associated with immigrating, surviving and adjusting through visuals incorporating dance, light, and photography.
This project aims to capture the story of becoming and transferring, with the title This Storm is You being inspired by a passage of a Haruki Murakami’s book, Kafka on the Shore:
"Sometimes fate is like a small sandstorm that keeps changing directions. You change direction but the sandstorm chases you. You turn again, but the storm adjusts. Over and over you play this out, like some ominous dance with death just before dawn. Why? Because this storm isn't something that blew in from far away, something that has nothing to do with you. This storm is you. Something inside of you. So all you can do is give in to it, step right inside the storm, closing your eyes and plugging up your ears so the sand doesn't get in, and walk through it, step by step. . . . When you come out of the storm you won't be the same person who walked in. That's what this storm's all about."
Zahra Saleki is an Iranian-Canadian photographer and installation artist who now resides in Toronto, Canada. After completing her BFA in Fine Arts Cultural Studies at York University, Zahra went on to study photography at The Chang School at Ryerson University. Zahra’s photography is an exploration of under-explored narratives, and strives to present unlikely subject matter from washroom graffiti to dance photography that tells the stories of different locales and the people who inhabit them.
Her work is based on real stories and emphasizes the importance of reality. Her project Girl Talk was presented for Toronto’s Nuit Blanche 2016 and again at the Art Gallery of Ontario in 2017. This project highlighted the importance of women’s voices and presence in society by capturing graffiti from womens’ washrooms and presenting them in a glass house. Zahra’s latest project was included in Nuit Blanche 2018 and was based on the impact of immigration on individual lives. A series of 200 photos titled This Storm is You presented dancers and their bodies and revealed how immigration can take something from one’s body and add something new to their character. Saleki currently remains actively involved in Toronto’s arts community and continues to create social-political based projects.