Date of Award

Spring 6-4-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


Graphic Design

First Advisor

Shiraz Abdullahi Gallab

Second Advisor

Kathleen Sleboda

Third Advisor

Cem Eskinazi


Ports of entry are places where one may lawfully enter a country by crossing land and sea borders‭. ‬This thesis frames the space conceptually where the boundaries of place, time, culture, and identity are crossed through existing ports or by building new ones. ‬

As an Iranian immigrant in the United States‭, ‬displacement of identity informs my worldview and design practice‭. ‬I find myself between two worlds, one inherited and the other adopted. ‬Both worlds are simultaneously active and exert their forces on my thought process‭. However, their interrelated dynamic is ambivalent because their path intersects and diverges unforeseeably‭. ‬My position‭, ‬like a pendulum‭, ‬never settles within this dual dynamic‭. ‬It sways from one direction to another—re-approaching one world after distancing itself from the other‭. ‬This instability manifests in my design with forms that move‭, ‬multiply‭, ‬shift in scale‭, ‬and are assembled and disassembled rapidly‭.‬

In my work‭, ‬events serve as ports of entry to new territories‭. ‬Events reveal the identity of a place, allowing me to relate to it on my own terms and to arrive at a space of belonging. ‬I navigate the trajectory of the events because it reveals how the past informs our present condition. ‬I collect fragments of evidence‭, ‬present or lost‭, ‬real or fictional‭, ‬past or present‭, ‬to tell contextual narratives about space‭, ‬site‭, ‬matter‭, ‬and time‭.‬


View exhibition online: Forough Abadian, Ports of Entry



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