Arts & Humanities

Multidisciplinary Artist Taravat Talepasand Joins Communitas Lecture Series at USU

By Whitney Schulte |

Iranian-American artist Taravat Talepasand will visit USU's Caine College of the Arts on Feb. 9-10, 2023.

LOGAN — Artist, activist and educator Taravat Talepasand is artist-in-residence at USU’s Caine College of the Arts (CCA) Feb. 9 and 10. She will deliver a lecture as part of the Communitas Lecture Series at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 9, in the Daines Concert Hall.

Presented by the Department of Art + Design in the CCA, Communitas invokes the fundamental spirit of community, coordinating a yearlong lecture series with a wide range of artists, designers and scholars whose work and lives promote the values of equality, diversity and togetherness.

Talepasand’s labor-intensive interdisciplinary painting practice questions normative cultural behaviors within contemporary power imbalances. As an Iranian-American woman, Talepasand explores the cultural taboos that reflect on gender and political authority. Her approach to figuration reflects the cross-pollination, or lack thereof, in Western society.

“To create art, it is imperative for me to be vulnerable — extracting the personal truths driven by my Diaspora, history, nostalgia, self-awareness and rebellion,” Talepasand said. “Much of my work revolves around the struggles of womanhood and navigating personal identity as a hyphenated individual. However, I believe that art must possess an element of vulnerability in order to provoke change — socially, intellectually and morally. In a world where ideas of culture, political and intellectual activities are evolving, what will this change mean for generations to come?"

Talepasand has exhibited nationally and internationally and is in the permanent collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, de Young Museum, Yerba Buena Center of the Arts, Tufts University, Bowdoin College Museum of Art, and the Orange County Museum of Art. Talepasand previously served as department chair of painting at the San Francisco Art Institute. She currently lives in Oregon and is an assistant professor of art practice at Portland State University School of Art + Design. Talepasand received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2001 and MFA at the San Francisco Art Institute in 2006.

“Taravat is such an amazing artist because of her willingness to take risks and challenge cultural taboos,” said Terry Powers, assistant professor of drawing and painting in the CCA. “I show Taravat’s work to my classes to illustrate how an artist can be unapologetic and seemingly fearless when taking on big political ideas, yet sensitive enough to remain slightly ambiguous, allowing the audience some space to create meaning on their own. Also, the paint itself is beautiful enough to keep one engaged for hours.”

The Communitas Lecture Series is free and open to the public. The theme for the 2022-23 academic year is “Margins.”

More information about Talepasand’s work is online at Visit the USU Department of Art + Design online at and on Instagram at @USUArtDesign.


Whitney Schulte
Public Relations Specialist
Caine College of the Arts


Terry Powers
Assistant Professor of Drawing & Painting
Caine College of the Arts


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