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Visual Arts exhibition celebrates international artists

The Texas Woman’s University Department of Visual Arts held a reception to celebrate the exhibition of two international artists, Nishiki Sugawara-Beda and Fari Rahimi. 

The reception was held Jan.16 to commemorate the opening of the two exhibitions in the East-West galleries located in the TWU Fine Arts Building. 

Sugawara-Beda, originally from Japan, is a painter and installation artist who uses her knowledge of sumi drawing ink and calligraphy to create a variety of work. 

“Zero at Home” displays Sugawara-Beda’s installation piece “Kotodama Converse,” which immediately welcomes you when entering the West gallery. Hanging from the ceiling are mobius strip forms covered in traditional Japanese calligraphy seals, which allows the viewer to walk through “Kotodama Converse” and experience it intimately. 

“Zero is the beginning, but it also aiming towards the goal – it is a double meaning,” Sugawara-Beda said in relation to the title of the show. “When you are at zero you can finally be comfortable to let other things into your heart and into your thoughts.” 

In addition to the installation, Sugawara-Beda also displays small, abstract ink paintings on the walls.

 “Zero at Home creates an environment or an invitation for the viewer to come in surrounded by the sculpture, or you get invited into the 2-dimensional work I create,” Sugawara-Beda said. “You can look at a painting and find one that speaks to you and that can linger in your brain and sort of allow the viewer to create their own spiritual world.”

Randall Day, first-year MFA graduate student in painting, gained a new appreciation for “Zero at Home” as he helped install the work.     

 “Nishiki’s show I feel very strongly about because I helped to install it and the end result is a beautiful, hanging sculpture,” Day said. “What was supposed to be a couple of days of install turned into 4 and took over 20 man hours to install.”

Rahimi, originally from Iran, is a sculptor and painter, who is currently based in Denton. Rahimi said her show “Subtext” is about “speaking but not speaking, saying things without saying them.”

Event attendees walk around the show room during a reception at The Texas Woman’s Visual Arts Building in Denton, Texas on Thursday, January 16, 2020. Photo by Sarah Pham.

When entering the East Gallery, you are faced with large, harsh geometric sculptures that each hold a strong presence. The works interacts and contrasts with each other – some are very small and delicate while others are very large and daunting. 

Rahimi works primarily with steel and glass and said, “I really love the physical aspect of making, that is one reason my medium is steel, working with steel and stainless steel is about being tough, and glass is very delicate.” 

Rahimi relates her work to her experiences in her home country. “I was born in Iran, so it is about women and the freedoms,” Rahimi said. “I have been making political and personal work for years, about women and how they see their life through their imaginations.” 

Both exhibitions connect to a broader University wide initiative

. “These shows are aligning with the University, which is doing a year of women,” said Blake Weld, Technical Director and Gallery Manager. “These artists are people we know of and the committee members knew about. We really liked their work and they are women, so we wanted to show them.” 

During the opening reception, the exhibitions excited freshman studio art major Kimberly Bien.      

“I really love them – I love that there seems to be an overall emphasis on nature, which is kind of my aesthetic and passion – especially the flowing ink paintings,” Bien said. 

Both shows will be displayed in the Visual Arts building until Feb. 7, 2020. 

Anna Galluzzi can be reached via email at

Featured Image Event attendees stand under the sculpture installation during a reception at The Texas Woman’s Visual Arts Building in Denton, Texas on Thursday, January 16, 2020. Photo by Sarah Pham.

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