Since I moved back to the United States from Iran, making daily works on paper where I draw my everyday emotions and sentiments is a way to deal with the isolation and the alienation that the situation initiated to my body. Sometimes the outcome of those drawings is abstract and may prevent a read based on the semiology of the visual system that our eyes are educated with. Other times it is direct enough to make links to familiar forms, such as objects, body organs, and figures. Can the otherness be rejected if the human body is read as an entity, a solid form in space, or a molecule?
Carving styrofoam with a hot rod knife as if I am drawing on it, my thoughts take me back to Iran to revisit the ruins of Persepolis that used to be the capital of the Achaemenid Empire (550-330 BC). Would the people of the Achaemenid Empire know that one day visitors will take selfies in front of their ruins? Would they know that part of their town’s wall and the main gate will end up at the Louvre Museum in Paris? And that some of their ordinary objects will be purchased by J. Paul Getty and kept in the Getty Villa in the Pacific Palisades?
I don’t believe in religion, so I shouldn’t believe in written history.
Looking back at the styrofoam, which is now a solid form, perhaps representing the human body, or a rock, my thoughts travel to Syria and Palestine. I visit the ruins that were once inhabited by people as domestic spaces, who lost their loved ones and all their belongings under the rubble during strikes. They may now live in camps where they are labeled as refugee, immigrant, exiled, survivor, or outsider. How alienated are their bodies from the environment that they are located in?
Adding a layer of concrete on the surface of styrofoam, my thoughts take me to a trip to Chicago, where I watch constructors building a tower in downtown. It is 2005, I hear a rumor as I pass by that the tower will be one of the tallest in the United States and that it will be named after the businessman who owns it. No surprise that later on his ego pushes his plan to build a wall around the country.
I find myself sitting on my stool and applying the last layer of concrete as my thoughts travel back to my studio. I think about how much time and the environment have changed the perception of my body, and how much they will change this material that I use to make these objects.