Double Displacement: The Iranian Immigrant Experience

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Fragar, Julie

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Burton, Laini

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In a TED talk given in 2010, Iranian visual artist Shirin Neshat articulated the two battles that the Iranian diaspora are engaged in—one is against their government, whose regime gives cause to flee, and the other is against the Western perceptions of Iranian identity that Iranians face after immigrating. My experience of emigrating from Iran to Australia is consistent with Neshat’s statement. I call the feeling of being a nomad or not belonging anywhere ‘double displacement’, an idea central to this Master of Visual Arts project. Through painting, I have considered the ways in which people maintain their identity and cultural vision after experiencing the disruption and displacement of immigration. I am interested in what the experience of double displacement (from the birth country and the new destination country) means and how it feels, especially from a Middle Eastern perspective. The end result of this series of works is something like a visual diary recorded by a woman with a Persian-poetic view of experience. To describe double displacement, I have used metaphoric and metonymic visual elements that refer to transience, including doorways, corridors, or light coming from one space to another sited within intimate places and interiors. The purpose of this research is to visually encapsulate the experience of doubly displaced immigrants. Through this research, I have attempted to find a more nuanced language with which to understand double displacement via the visual and material language of painting.

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Thesis (Masters)

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Master of Visual Arts (MVA)


Queensland College of Art

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The author owns the copyright in this thesis, unless stated otherwise.

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Shirin Neshat

Iranian diaspora

Immigrant displacement

Displaced persons

Iranians in Australia

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