Shirin Towfiq

Thinking About Migration
15’ x 10’ installation of 20 digital prints on gauze with fan

Thinking About Migration
are prints of Persian rugs on gauze fabric. They blow and turn gently like ethereal spirits from a fan placed in the corner of the room that personifies the imagination of magic carpets. In old Persian stories magic carpets are woven with magic threads that are able to transport anyone to anywhere in the world instantly. The rugs, and their delicate gauzy materiality suggest bodies of Iranian migrants and the precarity of migration. Their delicate motion and scale creates an ambivalent sensation—simultaneously of overwhelming vulnerability and loss while suggesting a calm freedom swaying easily in the wind. As the wind continues to blow on these rugs the gauze ever so slowly begins to unravel itself when they move.

Artist Statement

Shirin Towfiq is a conceptual artist of Iranian descent that works in textile, photography, installation, performance, and socially engaged art. Her work addresses cultural, communicative, and interpersonal relationships. She received a BA in Practice of Art from UC Berkeley and an MFA from Stanford University. Drawing from her experiences being a second generation immigrant, Towfiq uses traditional crafts to recontextualize commonly held ideas surrounding family, memory, comfort, and self-constructed identity.


Shirin Towfiq explores intergenerational communication in the context of a specifically Iranian-American experience. Through collaborating with her family members on projects by translating their memories into visual works she playfully reimagines boundaries, migration, movement, (dis)comfort, embodied archives, and home.

In recent years, Towfiq presented a solo-exhibition at the Hill Street Country Club, Oceanside, CA and has been included in group exhibitions at Minnesota Street Project, San Francisco; SomArts, San Francisco; San Francisco State University Fine Arts Gallery; c3artspace, Melbourne, Australia. Shirin Towfiq has won various awards, such as the Murphy award in 2020, and the Curator’s Choice award from the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in 2017. She completed a Bachelor of Arts in Art Practice from the University of California Berkeley in 2016 and a Masters of Fine Arts from Stanford University in 2020.

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