Bach's Brandenburg 5
CLOSE QUARTERS: EPISODE 4
From the artist:
My current body of work reflects my journey to reconnect with Iran, a country and culture I left behind in my youth. A culture that I have stayed distant from until just recently.
As the process of my work has progressed, it has become apparent to me that the country itself (apart from my own recollection) lacks a consistent identity of its own. Where the world has one view of Iran, those leading the country have another. In other words, those who live there now have their own view, while those who fled many years ago have memories of what it once was. All of these views seem to be in opposition of one another. So while this is the personal journey of an artist in search of his own national identity, it has also become a process of understanding a country’s place in the cultural, geographic and political landscape of today.
This body of work pulls imagery and symbols from sources unique to this region. Among these are the Shahnameh (Book of Kings), an ancient epic poem describing the history of kingship in Persia. I’ve also included historical artifacts, art, tapestries and my own personal memories. Some of the imagery may be familiar, such as symbols found in Persian rugs. The symbols used in this work represent the many opposing cultural, political and religious ideologies that have existed throughout Persian history, and Iranian modern times. One example is the Lion and Sun symbol on the flag of pre-revolutionary Iran, versus the current flag of the Islamic Republic or the Zoroastrian symbol. This juxtaposition, with my memories of Iran as a child during the Iran-Iraq war, are intertwined with new constructs that I have formed through the stories I have heard from family members and others since I left Iran. The mixture of these distinct and unique views provides the imagery and symbolism brought to the canvas through materials and methods common to this region, such as thread and embroidery.
In my artistic process, I begin by creating a tapestry-like background layered with embroideries over canvas. Using pearlescent paint, I cover the exposed canvas. I then embroider by hand the overlay image and border. Finally, I paint the overlays to separate these from the background.