M.F.A. Student Sogand Tabatabaei, born and raised in Tehran, Iran, is a collage and installation artist who gathers inspiration from her Iranian identity. At six years old, Tabatabaei found herself in awe of a printed copy of Leonardo da Vinci’s infamous Mona Lisa on the wall of her grandparents’ house. This fascination with da Vinci’s work led Tabatabaei to complete a bachelor’s of arts degree at the Tehran University of Art and then later brought her to pursue an M.F.A. degree at the University of Nevada, Reno. Today, Tabatabaei’s artwork explores her Iranian cultural identity and incorporates an interdisciplinary approach that includes drawing, installation, printmaking, video and collage.
Last month, Tabatabaei’s artwork, Coverage, was selected by a panel of representatives from the departments within the School of the Arts and a guest juror from the Nevada Museum of Art to represent the School of the Arts on the spring 2021 sticker.
With an artistic practice focusing largely on her cultural and gender identity, Tabatabaei describes Coverage (2020), her winning artwork for the School of the Arts sticker design.
“As an Iranian female artist, I am inspired by my cultural background and often employ cultural crafts and found objects to create my installations,” Tabatabaei said. “My artwork explores the intersection between the collective female identity and my own individual identity within Iran’s contemporary socio-cultural climate.”
The School of the Arts sticker concept grew out of an initial desire to share and celebrate the School of the Arts through a one-off School of the Arts sticker.
“As we worked on a preliminary design for the sticker, we quickly realized that we could instead feature selected student artwork each semester, honoring and celebrating each of the different disciplines in the School,” Shoshana Zeldner, program manager, special events with the School of the Arts, said. “What better way to tell our story than to keep student’s artwork front and center?”
In addition, students have the opportunity to get their artwork in front of a panel of judges, which include faculty from each department in the School as well as representation from the Nevada Museum of Art. The winner receives a $200 commission award and of course, stickers.
“This is an important opportunity for students to have someone from our community’s leading arts institution review their artwork, as well as receive payment for the use of their artwork,” Zeldner said. “So often, artists are expected to contribute something for free and we hope that by paying artists for the use of their work, they start to understand their value as artists and cultural workers and in our community.”
Stickers will be available on the University campus at the Joe Crowley Student Union front desk and welcome center, and at the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center information kiosk, as well as off-campus at the Sierra Arts Foundation, located at 17 S. Virginia Street in downtown Reno.