-by Julia Dixon Evans, KPBS | May 21, 2020
San Diego emerging artist focuses on the inherited habits and needs of children of Islamic and Middle Eastern immigrants during her Art Produce residency.
"Visual artist Nassem Navab recently moved back to San Diego from Tucson after studying at University of Arizona. She’d built up some connections here, worked as an artist assistant, began applying for teaching jobs, residences and exhibitions and was accepted into the 2020 group of artists-in-residence at North Park's Art Produce gallery.
And then, before her 7-week residency even began, the pandemic struck.
Art Produce, with its doors closed to the public, has continued its residency program as creatively as possible. The building is divided into several segments, so two artists can work in a studio and never interact with the other artist.
Navab's residency is in the gallery’s "Cooler Room," in the back and away from any University Avenue passersby. Under ordinary circumstances, the space is a dream: High ceilings, south-facing windows flooded with light throughout the day and access directly into Art Produce's lovely garden space, which encourages visitors to mingle and dwell in any exhibitions. But with galleries closed, the gardens are inaccessible, and Navab's in-studio residence is largely cut off.