Sanya Torkmorad-Jozavi, England – Iran


BA Hons Costume for Performance graduate at London College of Fashion. Conceptual performance artist daring to challenge identities of gender, and power struggles, within Iranian heritage and modern culture. Specialised in costume design and make for stage, film/tv and dance.

Through Costume for Performance, Sanya explores her British Iranian identity, challenging the norms of female representations and the power struggles within them. As well as film/tv and live performance, her background includes millinery (Victoria Grant) and producing ‘Top Gun’ for Michal Cole’s ‘Objection’ (La Biennale Venice 2017) which focuses on the suppressed female voice in a male dominated environment.

My approach to art has always been body-led, how the body is presented and how others respond, and why. The relationship between men and women physically as well as socially are a running theme in my work. ‘Acid Attack’ for example relates to the power struggles experienced between men and women, and as an Iranian who is very liberal and progressive in their lifestyle, I like to challenge those gender norms through my work.

Creating art I felt encouraged to be bold and honest, and confront issues I find hard to communicate through language alone. Art revealed a safe space that welcomes and celebrates different ideas which I found liberating. I did feel growing up in London, being daring felt necessary because it’s a contradiction to the suppressed Iranian woman, and being an artist shits on any type of suppression.

As a Costume Artist/Designer, I completely depend on people and rely on their response, without it the work itself doesn’t exist. It is always personalised to the context, with empathy, understanding and openness, and that’s before any craft or skill comes in. My first participation with ISEAS was inspired completely by the children, the landscape of Raseborg, and the dynamic between their two schools’ language barrier as well as our own background differences. I saw children who were divided by language, one was terrified at the idea of drawing but then with encouragement drew a portrait of someone they just met, and with pride they all put their work on the wall. They felt included. Through Different artist’s and social groups came together and impacted each other with no other communication but visual art. Whether you’re making a show, engaging in debate, or just helping someone’s confidence, Art in all its forms can make a difference to a community.

Instagram: @ayyynas


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