Nilou Kazemzadeh, MFA 2024

Thesis Exhibition: April 17-20   

Reception: April 19, 6-8 pm 

Foraged Earth, 2024, Ceramics, clay, dirt, mineral pigment


Artist Statement 

In my mixed-media practice, I create works that embody a personal connection to place and lineage as a form of revolt against isolating and harmful power systems built on politically motivated agendas driven by personal interests. I allow myself to be held and shielded by the memories of my family, my heritage, and the mysteries of the Earth. All of these domains and their intricacies are intertwined to form an environment of joy. In this quiet space, my hands are heavily present, forming carefully chosen materials into visual experiences of resilience. I employ a wide variety of media, including my family's archives that have been preserved, passed down, and then reimagined; minerals found in a local stream in Maryland that have been gathered and hand-ground into pigments, and clay, that is given shape by my hands and covered with the pigments I have ground. Each material goes through an act of becoming and through them I am able to see connections to myself and the world around me. How can connecting to one’s roots create a space of joy and healing? How is the action of care a radical rebellion against toxic societal constructs that uphold power structures? I think about these questions as I experience my work and imagine a future that is not based on self gain, but one that honors our bonds with the world around us and ourselves. 

More information about Nilou Kazemzadeh at  

All photos credited to the artist.