Behind the Darkness

Artist Statement

As a person who came from a faraway place and from a totally different culture, I feel that I possess a unique perspective in visual expression. I feel that art is the most powerful language human beings possess. Art can cross borders and pierce the cultural darkness surrounding minorities’ lives in the world as well as the beauty of human desire to overcome the limitations that are imposed on them by oppressive powers around the world. I believe artistic expression should be shared with others to expand this form of communication and self-expression.

My work examines how culture and its identity can be understood from the status and circumstances of its women, such as the roles they play in society, the rights they enjoy (or not), and most pointedly the dress codes to which they must adhere. The installation includes 15 monoprints and etchings on paper that hang from the ceiling. The hanging pieces each measure 36” x 120”.

In this series of prints, I continue my investigation of the veiling of Iranian women. I question the doctrine of the hijab and the ways in which this specific piece of clothing influenced and shaped my identity. Each of my works is constructed to magnify the roots and effects of the hijab. Different shapes of the hijab have transformed into a symbol of chastity and piety, into a cultural icon, a political manifesto, and finally related to the mental and emotional states of identity for women. A woman’s body has always been a type of battleground for various kinds of rhetoric and political ideologies. The installation explores the production of art with political and cultural content, moving a concept through limitations and hiddenness to the vision and presence. The forms that I use capture these disturbing feelings and moments from my past. The surfaces dance in the space and play with the viewer’s vision. The installation acts like a narrator. Viewers can walk between the long, hanging prints and discover women’s body parts lurking in the darkness of the papers. Viewers can immerse themselves within the prints. They will experience the work as random and haphazard, swallowing them, and causing them to feel lost.