“Dots: The Tale of Unity” is a new exhibition by Romina Zabihian that uses the ceremony and ritual of tea–a centerpiece of social and community gathering in many Eastern cultures–and the meticulous technique of pointillism, to craft visual stories about the interconnectedness of individuals, and an unity that transcends boundaries and borders.
Placing a tea bag on paper creates an unpredictable stain, serving as a poetic reminder of life’s aspects beyond our control. Just as we can’t influence the forms these stains take, we also cannot choose our race or ethnicity. Regrettably, these innate traits have been unfairly used to discriminate against people. While a single dot may seem insignificant, combined with others, it forms intricate and meaningful vision. In “Dots,” birds emerge as the eyes of Romina’s painted figures, challenging our perceptions, signifying freedom of the soul, and asking us to contemplate the deeper essence that connects all human beings. What happens when we, like dots, come together as a larger whole?
“Dots: The Tale of Unity” is an exhibition that delves into the universal aspects that bind us as human beings, celebrating unity, diversity, the intrinsic value of every person, and the power of collective action.
About the Artist
Romina Zabihian is a visual artist and designer based in San Francisco whose artistic journey has been profoundly shaped by her life experiences.
Born into a religious minority, the Bahá’í Faith, in Iran—a faith that has endured severe persecution for over four decades—she encountered various forms of discrimination, with one particularly egregious injustice being the denial of access to university. Her sole option was BIHE, an underground university established by the Bahá’í community, but it did not offer an art major. Consequently, she decided to study Psychology, a choice rooted in her deep fascination with human emotions and behavior—a subject that continues to influence her art and design to this day. Her passion for merging psychology and art eventually led her to focus on Art Therapy, becoming the central theme of her dissertation. Driven by her enduring love for art, and in the absence of formal art education, she honed her artistic skills through dedicated studio painting classes and practical experience.
However, balancing her artistic aspirations with practical considerations proved to be a constant challenge. At 22, she made the pragmatic choice to delve into graphic design, a more sustainable career path that allowed her to acquire valuable skills. In 2012, she became a member of the Iranian Graphic Designers Society (IGDS).To pursue her passion for design studies at the academic level, she moved to the USA in 2015, eventually earning a master’s degree in Graphic Design and Digital Media from the Academy of Art University. Throughout her career, alongside her work in the field of design, she has showcased her artworks through solo and collaborative group exhibitions.
Her background in psychology, combined with her firsthand experiences of discrimination as a woman and her observations of the plight of minorities both in Iran and the United States, has profoundly influenced her design and art projects. These experiences have deepened her grasp of the impact of injustice on both individual lives and the broader human experience. Through her art and design work, she hopes to inspire and provoke meaningful conversations about the human experience, resilience, and the pursuit of justice.
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