I was born in a land of paradoxes during a time of intense conflict and change.
Growing up in Iran in a post-war and post-revolutionary era motivated me to create art about sociocultural matters shaped by authoritarianism. My past vs. current life experience offers the raw materials of my work. I draw inspiration from childhood memories during a regional war and a lifetime of confronting the restrictions of state censorship and international sanctions.
As a multifaceted artist, my work utilizes cutting-edge technologies, including extended reality, 2D and 3D, creative coding, and video installations. I am eager to flavor my tone with humor and nostalgia through the juxtaposition of internet pop culture and Persian motifs. Hence, the aesthetics in my work are influenced by movements such as Pop Art and Post Internet Art, Glitch art, and Islamic art.
My current research interest is to explore ideas related to identity and technology. I grew up witnessing the rise of digital technology in a developing country. Later in my life, I relocated to Silicon Valley, the birthplace of many tech giants. However, the instant and free access to the vast pool of information in Silicon Valley is both a blessing and a curse. I am interested in observing the digital culture that is forming due to the ways individuals interact with current media and consume information. Much of my inspiration comes from scrolling through social media and noticing new forms of censorship shaped by algorithms. This has allowed me to witness the rise of a universal culture with its main attributes being information overload, mass consumerism, fakeness, and desensitization.
Some of the questions I aim to address in my research include: “Why are we
becoming more desensitized to what we see in the media?
How can technology shape the way we experience culture? How can the ways we have access to technology transform culture?”
Roya Ebtehaj is a multifaceted artist and educator based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She intermingles art and technology by exploring the digital culture that has formed due to the ways individuals interact with current media and consume information.
Ebtehaj utilizes XR, 3D, animation, video, web, print and installation to bring her ideas to life. Her artistic endeavor is framed by her Iranian background along with her identity interlaced in the diaspora. Ebtehaj draws inspiration from childhood memories during a regional war and a lifetime of confronting the restrictions of state censorship and international sanctions. She also enjoys incorporating humor and nostalgia through the juxtaposition of internet pop-culture and Persian motifs.
Ebtehaj has exhibited her work internationally in different venues, including Kyoto Shibori Museum, Usak Areology Museum, National Center for Contemporary Arts in Minsk, Root Division, B4b4lab, Maker Faire, Richmond Art Center, and Berkeley Art Center. She is currently a Postdoctoral fellow at Santa Clara University in the Department of Art and Art History, teaching digital media courses.