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Minoo Emami is a master of fine arts student within studio art. She received her bachelor of fine arts degree and a certificate in graphic design from Tufts University. Emami’s work incorporates her experiences of growing up in Tehran, Iran, during the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988). She specializes in drawings, sculpture, paintings, and photography, and has exhibited her work at UNC-Chapel Hill, nationally and internationally. Her art is featured within the permanent collection of the Newport Art Museum and has been displayed in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, in Lettre International magazine, and many other places.

Minoo Emami stands near a busy city intersection
Minoo Emami

What made you choose UNC-Chapel Hill when deciding on a program/place to study?

I’d heard about UNC Art and the art history department first from the alumni and my art undergrad drawing teacher at Tufts University, Ethan Murrow. That made me curious about the program and I was more determined when I dug into the internet about it. I visited the school last summer and really liked the powerful artist (mostly female) faculties and the strong community. I knew that these are artists, scholars, and activists that I want to be with for my next two years’ journey. I visited Boston in April 2019 when we had a snow storm. Loved the mild weather, too!

Tell us about your work.

I’m a multidisciplinary artist. I paint, draw, and make sculpture, video, and print – sometimes a couple of these together in one piece of art. Major themes in my work include memory, trauma, and the female body in relationship with Islamic architecture viewed through the lens of my personal history. My life has been affected by the Iran-Iraq War, the Iranian Revolution in 1979, and post-revolution years in Iran, and enduring the daily tragedies of a country in conflict. For me, the social implications of my work are equally important to artistic proficiency. I’m working on multiple projects, and one is an ongoing community project with women who experienced war and conflict in their lives, the Peace March.

What are some of your favorite places and things to do in your home country?

Iran is a gorgeous country with an amazing heritage and beautiful people to meet. There are many ancient and historical places like Persepolis to visit. Many beautiful cities like Isfahan with old bazaars full of Persian handicrafts and delicious local foods. Mostly I’m missing my neighborhood, Tajrish in Tehran, with tall gorgeous trees and old gardens. I invite y’all to Google and see it for yourself!

What are you hoping to accomplish with your Carolina degree?

I hope my MFA degree and other experience and learning from UNC help me to serve my people nationally and internationally. As an artist and an art teacher, I will encourage my colleagues, students, and peers, especially women, to visualize their ideas to reveal their visions, find their voices and support each other through creativity and collaboration.

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