Mahsa Alafar is an Iranian artist, educator, and researcher, currently living in the US and teaching at GVSU as a Visiting Artist. She got her bachelor's degree from the University of Tehran and her master's from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She was the recipient of the New Artist Society Merit Scholarship.
As a Muslim-born woman, she takes a critical standpoint on issues of social, political, and cultural discrimination against women, referencing Iranian traditions and Islamic culture. A significant part of her research focuses on the varying relationships between patriarchal culture and the presence of women. By addressing subjects such as tyrannical oppression, female identity, and the female body as a site of resistance, she reproduces visual maps, arranging them into conceptually layered works. As a middle eastern woman living in the west, her research also studies decolonizing the archive and desexualizing methodologies, especially of the Western gaze concerning the terms “Orient” and “Orientalism”. Her method of denying the viewer the original complexity of the work is to digitally pixelate and obscure what has been the subject of the colonial gaze, such as paintings by western Orientalists and traditional Persian designs.