05 March 2020 The lovely lavender backdrop at Edel Assanti’s booth belies the heavy political content in the exhibited work. The hue references Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, whose campaign color was purple. A photograph by Sheida Soleimani, titled Iran Heavy (2019), looks like good fun at first: It features an upside-down fish that appears to blow bubble gum, flopping against two pale purple dumbbells. Yet the fish, out of water, is probably dead, and the sticky bubble gum dripping in the background gives the photograph a certain “ick” factor. The work references how oil production has led to the deterioration of the fishing industry in Iran. Soleimani is the child of Iranian refugees, and her work, said Edel Assanti co-founder Charlie Fellowes, exudes the “acerbic political discourse” that she grew up with (all photographs are priced between $4,000 and $7,500 apiece).
The gallery pairs Soleimani’s work with grainy sand-and-plaster sculptures (on offer for $11,000 to $22,000 each) by her friend, Oren Pinhassi. They reference the body with thin legs and looping heads.