University of Oregon’s Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art presents the first United States museum exhibition for Iranian artist Naeemeh Naeemaei

University of Oregon’s Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art presents the first United States museum exhibition for Iranian artist Naeemeh Naeemaei
The exhibition will be on display in the Schnitzer Gallery from June 15 to December 31, 2019.


EUGENE, Ore. -- (June 6, 2019) –The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, located on the University of Oregon campus, presents the first United States exhibition by Iranian artist Naeemeh Naeemaei. On display from June 15 to December 31, 2019, the exhibition features work from two series, “Dreams Before Extinction” and “Under the Earth, Over the Moon.”


“Naeemeh’s work is such a surprise.  She is such an accomplished painter, and her themes, focusing on endangered species and Iranian village life and their stories draw us in so completely that we find ourselves in her world,” says Jill Hartz, Executive Director and exhibition curator. 


Naeemaei uses a dreamlike quality to portray her deepest concerns about nature, situating her activist stance in Iranian religious and village customs. She uses her real dreams and memories to evoke an emotional response from the viewers of her work. "Dreams Before Extinction" addressed the loss of wild animals in Iran and elsewhere.  Naeemaei’s work was first brought to American audiences in a bilingual book featuring the paintings, which was published by Perceval Press in 2013 and republished this year, in conjunction with the exhibition.


“I use my dreams, wishes, memorabilia, and legends, plus information about the species to extend my imagination,” says Naeemaei. “In each painting, I’ve lived with the animal in my mind. It is deep connection.”


Her new series – “Under the Earth, Over the Moon” are inspired by the story of a friendship between a young girl named Mina and a Persian leopard. Mina, who lived in a village named Kandelous more than one hundred years ago, experienced a peaceful friendship with a leopard. As the story goes, during the season of collecting firewood, her beautiful voice attracted the leopard, and gradually they became friends. The story turned into a tragedy when the leopard was shot by a villager who was in love with Mina.



“A few years ago, I went to Mina’s village and in spite of some renovations, her house was still there, with its yard and tree,” says Naeemaei.  “During several trips to the area, I talked to people, took pictures, and developed my ideas until today, when three [including a tryptich] of an anticipated fifteen paintings are ready to be shown here. You may find Mina somewhere in a painting, or me in her place in another piece, or even none of us but still sense something that has remained of us, something like a deep sorrow and a deeper love.”



Born in Tehran, Iran, in 1984, Naeemeh Naeemaei received her BA in art from Tehran Art University in 2006, where her major was sculpture. Her art – paintings and sculpture -- has been displayed in Tehran as well as Berlin.Prior to moving to Oregon in 2017, Naeemaei was active in Iran’s environmental movement and involved with several organizations that seek to raise awareness about endangered species and other environmental issues. 


In 2016, Naeemaei was the category winner in painting in the Wildlife Artist of the Year Competition, sponsored by the David Shepherd Foundation in London.  That year, she also served on the Twelfth Glenn Gould Award Jury (chaired by Vigo Mortensen), awarded every second year to a living individual in recognition of his/her contributions to music and communication.


About the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art

The University of Oregon's Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is a premier Pacific Northwest museum for exhibitions and collections of historic and contemporary art. The mission of the museum is to enhance the University of Oregon’s academic mission and to further the appreciation and enjoyment of the visual arts for the general public.  The JSMA features significant collections galleries devoted to art from China, Japan, Korea, Europe, and the Americas as well as changing special exhibition galleries.  The JSMA is one of seven museums—and the only academic art museum-- in Oregon accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.


The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is located on the University of Oregon campus at 1430 Johnson Lane. Museum hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesdays, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for senior citizens. Free admission is given to ages 18 and under, JSMA members, college students with ID, and University of Oregon faculty, staff and students. For information, contact the JSMA, 541-346-3027.


Contact: Debbie Williamson Smith, 541-346-0942,


Links: Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art,