Shadia Heenan Nilforoush was born in Denver, CO, raised in Houston, TX, and currently resides in rural Connecticut. She received her BFA, with a minor in Psychology, from the Hite Art Institute at the University of Louisville in Louisville, KY in May 2014. Shadia is currently an MFA candidate at the University of Connecticut working in photo, video, performance, and installation. Her work seeks to reconcile multiple identities, while questioning what it means to occupy space in and between multiple cultures. Shadia explores what happens when we shift between constructed identities and considers the emersion of a third self, as an amalgamation rather than bifurcation.
The journey to a broader awareness of one’s self is an essential part of the human condition. For some, forming a unifying bond with their race and religion easily traverses this. For others, such as myself, the journey may be marred by uncertainty of their past and present. By blood, I am Caucasian and Iranian. I am, as they say in Farsi, do-rageh, which translates as “two-veined.” However, by upbringing, I was Pakistani, immersed in a world full of vibrant colors, smells, sounds, and traditions.
My work investigates and interprets identity in multiple ways, including: hybrid ancestral identity, as insider/outsider, an adaptive movement through loss and change, and through reconfiguration and transformation of the self. When I consider identity, I also think of humanity’s inherent complexity, it is a pastiche of both circumstance and environment, which no two people can experience in exactly the same way.
Through the continued journeying of personal experiences, I have found and formed new identities. I shape-shift in and out of various personas all in search of the true self. The understanding being that the way to the self is through the integration and re-purposing of all layers and experiences, from birth to present and onward.
In addition to her art practice, Shadia is an E-RYT 500HR yoga teacher, certified (200HR) through Yandara Yoga Institute in Bali, Indonesia and (300HR) SchoolYoga Insitute in Cusco, Peru. She teaches hatha, vinyasa, restorative, and yoga nidra. She began practicing in 2003 and has taught since 2014. You can learn more about the services she offers here.