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Vian Sora 

N O W H E R E 

November 10, 2018 - January 5, 2019

Now living in Louisville, Kentucky, Sora was born and raised in Baghdad, Iraq.  The entirety of her youth was spent under the inescapable shadow of Saddam Hussein and the Ba’ath Party; the personal stories and journeys of her family and friends are inseparable from what Sora describes as the “mandates and masochism” of one of the 20th century’s most cruel and craven dictators.  With a keen artist’s eye, Sora’s work reflects vital aspects of the human experience of some of the most serious geopolitical realities of the last four decades while also illuminating the directions in which our culture seems to be headed.  “I have always gone against the tide,” she says. “It has brought me troubles but also blessings.  I’m done with being treated as an exotic bird, an exception to all these savages.  Everything I do is to help people communicate and think differently.”


Sora’s newest work blurs the line between figuration and abstraction, and our exhibition’s title does the same: the separation between each letter is deliberate, rendering the title almost unreadable.  Is it to be pronounced “NOWHERE,” “N O W H E R E,” “NOW HERE,” or “NO W HERE” ? All reference the respective strangeness of “home” locations as disparate as Baghdad and Louisville; “W” references both the middle initial of the U.S. President whose military invasion toppled Hussein, for better and worse changing the course of her native country and her own life, as well as standing in as shorthand for war, something Sora and her fellow Iraqis know all too well, and something most of us here in middle America struggle to imagine.  



Born in 1976, Sora has lived in Louisville since September 2009. Her work has been exhibited in Iraq, Turkey, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, as well as Boston, Washington D.C., and Louisville.  In late summer 2017, Sora was awarded a grant from Great Meadows Foundation to attend Documenta 14 in Kassel, Germany and the Venice Biennale.