Multidisciplinary Artist Nazafarin Lotfi Examines the Effect of Negative Spaces on ldentity

Nazafarin Lotfi

Nazafarin Lotfi, an Iranian-born artist, teacher, photographer, painter, and sculptor who shuffles between the cities; Chicago, Arizona, Illinois and Tucson. Nazafarin makes quietly ethereal sculptures that often seem to be floating by themselves up into the air of a gallery space.


Using a broken stool or thin wooden dowels as pedestals, the sculptural forms resemble crumpled milk cartons or hollow vessels. Her sculptures seem to haves a weightless quality. Alongside the sculptural practice, Lotfi makes drawings on paper in which fields of dots ebb and flow, suggesting celestial or cosmic-like volumes. Nazafarin Lotfi is a multi-dimensional artist. Even in her photographs you could see the element of weightlessness, space and ethereal beauty in her pictures. She looks at how space is represented in relation to time, weight, balance, collapse, and the dialectics of within and outside."


In order to examine the spatial and temporal experience of bodies out of place, she blends drawing, painting, video, and sculpture in her interdisciplinary approach.

Nazafarin Lotfi earned her BA from the University of Tehran in 2007 and her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2011. Multidisciplinary artist Nazafarin often investigates how ideas of identity creation and self are viewed in relation to architecture, landscape, space, and location.

“Night" by Nazafarin Lotfi

In her research, she considers how humanness relates to nonhuman bodies and to places that are identified by activities like gardening and map-making. She has received grants from the Arizona Commission on the Arts for research and development, the Phoenix Art Museum for contemporary art, Night Bloom: Grants for Artists, and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events of the City of Chicago for the CAAP Grant.

Nazafarin Lotfi's work

She has had exhibitions of her work both domestically and abroad at places like Artpace in San Antonio, Texas; Regards in Chicago, Illinois; Phoenix Art Museum in Arizona; Elmhurst Museum of Art in Illinois; Tucson Museum of Art in Arizona; The Suburban in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and MOCA-Tucson in Arizona, among others. In the spring of 2021, Lotfi participated in the Artpace International Artist-in-Residence program. She received a fellowship from Arts + Public Life and the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture at the University of Chicago for the academic year 2015–16. She is currently a Matakyev Research Fellow at Arizona State University's Center for Imagination in the Borderlands. Nazafarin says she reinvented herself and art as an artist when she moved four years ago from Chicago.