Born in Iran, lives in the United States, and works in between
Assistant Professor in Ceramics
Filsoofi is collector of soil and sound, an itinerant artist, and a feminist curator. Her geographical, disciplinary and conceptual practice take on critical narratives about movement, immigration, and social activism. Clay and sound are the nexus of her practice and act as expressive mediums, with their cryptic and architectural qualities engendering new narratives through diverse aesthetic strategies such as multimedia installations and immersive sound performances. Her art disrupts the borders that exist between us and seeks a more inclusive world, illuminating and challenging policies and politics.
Her current and recent exhibitions include Imagined Boundaries, an interactive multimedia installation at Gibbes Museum in Charleston, SC (2023-2024), and Only Sound Remains, an interactive multimedia installation at the Sharjah Biennial 15, Thinking Historically in the Present in Sharjah, UAE (2023).
Filsoofi’s Imagined Boundaries a multimedia installation, consisting of two separate exhibitions, debuted concurrently in a solo exhibition at the Abad Gallery in Tehran and group exhibition Dual Frequency at the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood, Florida in 2017. The installation in each country connected audiences in the U.S. and Iran for few hours in the night of the show opening.
Raheleh's project, 'Listening: The Fourth String,' in collaboration with musician Reza Filsoofi, introduces an interactive instrument and platform called ShahTár. Through public performances, it highlights the contributions of the silenced Iranian musician and Sufi, Moshtagh Ali Shah, to music while emphasizing the power of listening to drive community engagement and promote social change.
She has been the 2022 Winner of the1858 Contemporary Southern Art Award and the recipient of the 2021 Southern Prize Tennessee State Fellowship. She is an Assistant Professor of Ceramics in the Department of Art at Vanderbilt University and holds the secondary appointment at the Blair School of Music. She received her M.F.A. in Fine Arts from Florida Atlantic University and a B.F.A. in Ceramics from Al-Zahra University in Tehran, Iran.
Taking a multidisciplinary approach to her curatorial practice, Raheleh creates a space for women and non-binary artists and scholars to discuss their work, interests, and strengths in relation to social and political structures, cultural expectations, gender, and identity. Her exhibitions expand the framework of feminine solidarity, showcasing the unbounded potential of space and media to reveal connections between the creative process, diversity, and shared knowledge.
Projects such as Fold: Art, Practice and Metaphor, and the upcoming Uncovered Spaces, push the limits of visual manifestation, addressing the customs that mediate everyday experiences through art, research, and performance. The exhibitions, along with their speakers and panel discussions, also provide a unique opportunity to engage with the many voices and perspectives of notable, contemporary, artists - ultimately building bridges between concepts, cultures, and communities.
Her newest project, Revive, brings together women artists and historians to reenvasion ceramic objects as vehicles for imagination, ideology, and action through form, function, and aesthetics. As the world turns to more innovative possibilities, objects of the past can inspire new dialogues between materials and practices that exist within our present context.
Revive | احیا Review, By Rachel Ebio, Ruckus
Education is a crucial platform for implementing change. As a teacher, Raheleh designs projects very carefully focusing on intention, purpose, and community building. She has worked with undergraduate and graduate students as well as with artists at the School of Art’s Summer Residency at Chautauqua since 2019. One example of a project is An Alternative Resource System, which stems from her professional work and research on using natural resources in the creation of her artworks. In this project, the intention was to find the source for clay and explore the relation of ceramics to the land. The purpose was to collaborate to produce clay and use it to create a large social sculpture. The community building evolved through performance and body movement raising students’ awareness of individual and social bodies in the creative process. All of her student-focused projects incorporate these components.