Leila Ghasempor

Master of Fine Arts in Studio, Performance

Leila Ghasempor is a Kurdish-Iranian performance artist whose work draws from her experiences growing up amid the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988) when her family was displaced. She makes collective performances reference universal and culturally specific symbols of human pain, loss, and displacement. Ghasempor’s practice is educational. Each of her projects draws attention to a traumatic history of marginalized people or focuses on a specific issue that she confronts in society no matter where they are happening. Ghasempor rewards her audience with information and awareness.

Ghasempor is the recipient of multiple scholarships and awards, including the Enrichment Scholarship and Graduate Dean Professional Development Award (twice) from SAIC, Harvey and Alwayne Gunderson Art Scholarship (twice), and Research and Creative Scholarship from the University of South Dakota, Robert Ralph Ford Memorial Art Scholarship, Lykins Family Art Scholarship, Underwood-Alger Scholarship from Parkland College. In addition, Ghasempor’s works have been featured in six Performance Festivals, three solo exhibitions, and over 20 group exhibitions in the U.S, Spain, and France. Also, her works are in permanent collections of Parkland College, The University of South Dakota, Heartland Humane Society, Vermillion Cultural Association, and the Technical University of Valencia.