Vancouver International Centre for Contemporary Asian Art

Revolving: a family tale

Sona Safaei-Sooreh, Revolving: a family tale, cast photo, 2021. Courtesy of the artist.


Revolving: a family tale

September 16 – November 27, 2021

Curated by Henry Heng Lu

Current Gallery Hours:

Wednesday to Saturday, 12 PM – 6 PM*

*Subject to change as per COVID-19-related protocols. Face masks or face coverings are mandatory during your visit.

Opening Reception:

Thursday, September 16, 5 PM – 9 PM*

*Registration is required. Register and read important information about attending the opening reception HERE. Light refreshments will be safely provided.

Revolving: a family tale is a multimedia exhibition that revisits the semi-colonial history of the Iranian Oil Industry by Sona Safaei-Sooreh. In part, it takes the form of a comic script, printed in traditional tabloid-size newspapers, attempting to compare the story of the nationalization of the Iranian Oil Industry with present-day political affairs.

The comic characters are inspired by cartoon drawing advertisements made by Ronald Searle for the British Petroleum company back in the 1950s. Safaei-Sooreh imagined a fictional life for Searle’s characters and illustrated the life of their grandchildren who live in our current era. The new propaganda messages were born from the initial British petroleum ads with a middle-eastern twist. Further, the artist puts together video footage from an interview with BP staff when they were expelled from Iran in the 1950s and a scene from the Walt Disney movie “Cinderella” to portray the imperial attitudes of the British subjects towards Iran.

Sona Safaei-Sooreh is an Iranian–born artist based in Toronto. She holds a B.Sc. from Azad University and a BFA from OCAD University. In 2017, she graduated from the MVS program at the University of Toronto. Her practice is largely concept-driven, and in many instances, it positions itself in discourses around literary theory, political economy, and institutional critique.

Safaei-Sooreh has shown her work nationally and internationally in venues such as hinterland galerie (Vienna), Art Athina Platform Projects (Athens), Zalucky Contemporary (Toronto), Artspace (Peterborough), Mohsen Gallery (Tehran), KunstraumKreuzberg/Bethanien and nGbK (Berlin), Cite internationale des arts (Paris), De Bond (Bruges), Harbourfront Centre (Toronto), Thomas Erben Gallery (New York), SESC Vila Mariana (São Paulo), Aaran Gallery (Tehran), and Parkingallery (Tehran). In addition, her work was part of a travelling exhibition called PROJECT 35: VOLUME 2, which has toured around the world.

Also included in Revolving: a family tale are several video works made between 2010 and 2014, highlighting the artist’s ongoing exploration of subjects on the economy, value inequalities, and sociopolitical conditions.

The artist would like to acknowledge the generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Toronto Arts Council for realizing this exhibition.

Accessibility: The gallery is wheelchair and walker accessible. If you have specific accessibility needs, please contact us at (604) 683-8326 or [email protected].

Centre A is situated on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples. We honour, respect, and give thanks to our hosts.