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Alumni in the ANU Art Collection: Sheida Sabetraftar

Sheida Sabetraftar’s artworks Obscurities IV and Obscurities VI were acquired by the ANU in 2019.

We invited Sheida to provide some insight into her work in the collection, her experience of studying at the ANU and a little about her ‘creative life’ since graduating in 2019:

Obscurities IV and VI are part of a series of screenprints exploring surveillance. While I walked and drove in Canberra’s public spaces, I witnessed the flood of security cameras that occupied the urban environment. I captured images of CCTV cameras and birds that populated the same spaces. Reflecting on how both entities are unidentified and marked as normal and accepted aspects of city life.

The prints comprise a scattered array of dots created using a halftone effect. The result of the effect is then blown up and screen printed on a large scale, producing an image that is difficult to read. This is intended to remind the viewer of the uneasy dynamic that exists between nature and artifice. The strain put on the viewer aims to call attention to these pervasive devices that often go unrecognized.

Sheida Sabetraftar, Obscurities IV, 2019, screenprint on Stonehenge paper, 730 x 1085 mm. Purchased through the ANU SOAD Emerging Artists Support Scheme EASS in 2019

Previously, as a student of ANU studying in the Printmedia and Drawing department, I treated the studio like a second home. I spent a great deal of afternoons (and sometimes nights) in my space forming my ideas and doing research. I also gained a lot of strong friendships in the course of my degree. I have stayed in touch with students and lecturers of different disciplines as well as my own. Upon graduating I was awarded a residency at Megalo Print Studio, thanks to the Emerging Artist Support Scheme.

I am currently working from home in Canberra’s north where ideas of living online coupled with private and public surveillance are a dominating concept which I explore. In response to the COVID-19 crisis I have now fixated my work on the absence of human presence in the public places inhabited by security cameras. The camera has fewer subjects. I am working towards using still photographs from the perspective of surveillance cameras to display these peculiar atmospheres.

For more information on Sheida Sabetraftar see her instagram:

You can view Sheida’s Capo award artwork here: 

The Drill Hall Gallery acknowledges the Ngunnawal and Ngambri peoples, the traditional custodians of the Canberra region, and recognises their continuous connection to culture, community and Country.