Domestic Affairs investigates the idea of home in body, structure and land, and explores the culturally embedded promise of security and hope engendered in the archetypal house. It explores a conceptual topography of “place”; it is a kind of domestic archeology.
The exploration of the concept of home can reveal deeply ambiguous and complex phenomena: its interface with identity, its connections to security vs openness to difference and other, it can embody the sense of inclusion/exclusion, freedom/incarceration, movement/entrapment, displacement and belonging.
We tend to map the contours of security and safety into the image of home as a protective refuge, a shelter from the storm, as if they were the essential constituent parts of making a home. If so then what becomes of the homeless, the unmooring of the subjects of exchangeable labor, the children born into diaspora, those that live in the cracks, fissures and shadows of the world; what happens to those consigned to forage through the wasteland of broken promises? What happens when we live in fear or hatred of otherness, homelessness, of alterity?
Naming is the first act of calling into being and thus one of the original signifiers of identity formation, placing the individual in contextual relationship with culture, race, gender, and ethnicity. It is a symbolic contract between the individual and society and confirms the individual’s existence and society’s obligation and responsibility to the individual, and the individual’s implicit acceptance to the society.
This video interview series investigate two types of responses to the unsettling of identity often hidden in immigrant diaspora: how we keep or change our personal names, the original markers of self and identity; and the artifacts we keep or bring as carriers of history, family, locality. The first seeks to explore identity through language and naming, and the latter through memory and history.
Still shots form The Things We Bring, The Names We Change video interviews, 2017
In literature and decorative arts, Nightingale and Rose is a metaphor for the beloved and lover par excellence; the rose is beautiful, proud, and often cruel, while the bird sings endlessly of longing and devotion. The Nightingale and the Rose series brings the ancient motif of Nightingale and Rose (Gol-o-Bolbol) to the contemporary setting, addressing the dynamics of food, economy and human relationships in our evermore-globalized world. This series contemplates the role of power structure in interpersonal relationships as well as international relations; where the asymmetrical relationship of bird and flower echoes from individual level to family, state, national and international political systems.
Cairns and way-finding to culture, 2017
Nightingale and Feathers, 2017
A humorous riff on the Nightingale perched in his aerie, regal, aloof, an object aloft; Mohammed, Buddha, Messiah, Autocrat, with acolytes and subjects at his feet; the privilege of bronze, suspended, subtended by the common object. Feathers spill; the antipathy of current politics, the rift that divides, the body that gathers, of us versus them, perhaps a false binary where under the patriotic pin, the show of colors, it’s the same old chicken, (tarred) and feathered.
A bird is three things:
Feathers, flight and song,
And feathers are the least of these. –Marjorie Allen Seiffert
Re Member Dis, 2017
Remember: To bring to mind, to bear in mind.
Dismember: To sever limbs, partition, divide.
Member: To belong to a family, group, or tribe; Constituent piece; limb, organ.
The Audience, 2016
The Nightingale and The Rose, 2016
Where the kiln fire fixes into permanence and durability, water incises and dissolves, holds potentiality in suspension. This proposes a death before life, a redirection. This is an invitation of image slipping into image, of returning the materiality of the object to itself, its original nature. It is an exploration of that elemental destructive unfolding, that beautiful death.
Bed of Roses, 2016
This is the time: the time of making and un-making, the real time dissolve of green-ware in rose-water, a material investigation, a sacrifice; the body in the limiting frame; the Rose – water and blood – the life and death of the Nightingale.
Blow of Mercy, 2016
The Devotion (n + 1), 2016
(n + 1) intends to be both a comic and ironic study of the idea of devotion: to nation, religion, family or even devotion to an idea itself. This work contemplates the role of power structure in interpersonal relationships as well as international relations; where the asymmetrical relationship of bird and flower echoes from individual level to family, state, national and international political systems.
From cultural displacement to dinnerware placement, Exileware: Persian Diaspora & Pottery in Minnesota focuses on the impact of transnational migration on individual and collective experiences of everyday life. Exileware is a body of ceramic ware exploring the dynamics of a hybrid cultural identity that revolves around social rituals and traditions surrounding ceremonial events, food, and hence ceramics vessels.
Native to Middle Eastern and Mediterranean regions, pomegranate has been held sacred by many of the world’s major religions, legends and mythologies. The robust round shape of a pomegranate with its blood colored flesh bursting open with numerous seeds are emblematic of feminine body, the female source of nature and thus continuity of life. This is Not a Pomegranate series consists of ceramic installations and performances which walk the line between fine art and mainstream aesthetics. In this series, I embrace the motif of a pomegranate with both its past and present prominence. The past portrayals with symbolic meanings such as life, resurrection, love and abundance, and the present significance as pervasive decorative goods of the Middle Eastern cultures.
Why don’t you smile Bozi? آخه بزی چرا نمی خندی؟ was inspired by the stylized design of a Persian ibex (a mountain goat) motif that I have borrowed from a six thousand year old Iranian ceramic beaker. In the Persian language “bozi” means little goat, and the title of the work refers to a humorous folk song that was meant to spread holiday cheer and put a momentary smile on the frozen faces of people. I use “bozi” as a symbol of a glorified past evoking the Persian Empire, Persian Garden, Persian carpet, Persian cat, etc. juxtaposed with the miniature gold-leaf oil barrel that evokes “axis of evil”, Persian Gulf Wars, sanctions, nuclear programs, Geneva talks, and simply put, Oil politics. I’m fascinated with oil politics and the major role it plays in the world’s delicate political balance. My generation came of age in the aftermath of Iran’s 1979 Revolution and the subsequent eight years of devastating war with Iraq. With many Iranians choosing life in diaspora, I often wonder how different history would be if oil had never been discovered in the region.