Afruz Amighi is a sculptor and installation artist. Raised in New York city by Jewish and Zoroastrian parents, she completed her BA in political science at Barnard College at Columbia University, before going on to complete her MFA at New York University.
Afruz Amighi’s delicate abstract sculptures refer to a complex array of architectural sources: the meandering arabesques of Islamic mosques, the angular shapes of Gothic churches, the ornamentations of Manhattan Art Deco buildings and the urban landscape of Brooklyn, among others. Architecture in its various expressions is a medium for Amighi to investigate the way in which humans across cultures and ages build structures which reflectscommon ideals and aesthetic values in spite of the complexity and precariousness of society.
At the inception of her artistic career, Amighi used woven polyethelene, a material used to fabricate tents in refugee camps, to create geometric patterns inspired by the shapes of mosques and palaces. The resulting sculpture would be illuminated to create a wall of shadows, allowing light to reflect and echo the sculptures’ intricate patterns. The work investigated issues of loss and displacement, as she explains: “I was absent from the upheavals that shaped the course of events for my family, the revolution, the Iran-Iraq war, and yet I was so intimately affected by the psychological ramifications of those events. As a result, I experienced this fixation with themes that were at once proximate and distant.”
In her new body of work, Amighi’s practice significantly developed through the introduction of 3-dimensionality. By acquiring new skills in welding and using common materials such as chains, steel and mesh, Amighi gained the freedom to weld any size and shape with her hands, thereby expanding the conceptual and aesthetic boundaries of her artistic practice. Her latest series of work investigates the history of disposed empires, from the Mughals, who ruled over the Indian subcontinent until being conquered by the British Empire in the 19th century, to the Native Americans, whose various tribal lands extended over North America prior to the arrival of Europeans in the 16th century. At once highly personal and political, Amighi’s sculptural reliefs and installations investigate the history of civilizations while exploring humanity’s constant search for common conceptual and aesthetic ideals.
Afruz Amighi (born 1974, Iran) is the inaugural recipient of the Jameel Prize for Middle Eastern Contemporary Art awarded by the Victoria & Albert Museum in London in 2009. In 2011, she was granted the fellowship in sculpture by the New York Foundation for the Arts. In 2013, Amighi’s work was commissioned for the 55th Venice Biennale. Her work is included in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC, USA; the Houston Museum of Fine Art, TX, USA; The Cleveland Museum of Art, OH, USA; the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, UK and The Devi Foundation, New Delhi, India, among others. Amighi has exhibited her work in the United States, Europe and Asia. She currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.