Born in Kermanshah, Iran in 1942, Nicky Nodjoumi experienced the Islamic Revolution of 1979 from the perspective of a young artist, astutely aware of the political and social upheavals of this tumultuous period in Iran’s history. Earning a Bachelor’s degree in art from Tehran University of Fine Arts before relocating to the United States in the late 1960s, Nodjoumi received his Master’s degree in Fine Arts from The City College of New York in 1974. Returning to Tehran to join the faculty of his alma mater, Nodjoumi joined his politically galvanized students in their criticism of the Shah’s regime, designing political posters inspired by the revolutionary spirit sweeping the country, only to be exiled once more in the aftermath of the revolution.
This political engagement has continued to the present day. His nuanced figurative paintings engage in political discourse with a light, satirical touch, layering his personal heritage and lived experiences in Iran and the United States into scenes that resonate beyond specific historical contexts or geographical boundaries.
Nodjoumi’s works are conceived of as theatrical stages, where compositions of figures both serious and ridiculous, in the words of Phong Bui, “house meanings without irony, narratives without stories, humor without morality, above all creating a space that heightens the awareness of old and new history.” Serious in subject matter and witty in execution, these rich and diverse characters enliven Nodjoumi’s narratives and allude to collective experiences underpinned by socio-political struggles, articulating the full spectrum of feelings from aggression to victimhood.
Nicky Nodjoumi has exhibited internationally and is in several prominent collections worldwide, including the British Museum in London, the Salsali Private Museum in Dubai, and the National Museum of Cuba. His work will be featured in the exhibition Iran Modern, opening at the Asia Society in New York in September 2013, in conjunction with his solo exhibition at Taymour Grahne Gallery. The artist lives and works in Brooklyn.