Canadian Dream

In my performance and installation practice, I unearth the layers of my own life to uncover subconscious desires. I work predominantly within a confessional style mainly found in the literary arts. I am currently working on a series of photographs entitled "Pride” where I raise questions about the "Canadian dream", and where it might be found. Issues of identity, immigration and the role of art in social change are part of this enquiry.

My own path took me from Tehran, where I was an award winning artist and professor, to Canada in 2014. Because of this experience I understand the aspirations of many Canadians to this young nation that was significantly shaped by immigrants and their descendants.

In my practice, I have been influenced by everything from fairy tales to ancient Indigenous culture. “Pride” was inspired by the 11th-century Persian tale of Rudāba, included in the epic poem Shahnameh by Ferdowsi. Rudāba offers to let down her hair from her tower so that her lover Zāl can climb up to her. For this series I have invited the newcomers to donate a lock of their hair to the project. With these contributions I will make a long braided ladder that will be hung from objects and buildings around the city. I see this ladder as being about the story of immigrants, of the mothers and fathers who courageously leave their family and friends behind to move to a new country. Their hopes of reaching great heights in their life and career, are suggested both by this object and the gesture of attaching it to found sites. I hope my ladder gives migrant voices a way of being heard and encourages them to never lose faith in finding a place where they can be fully acknowledged.

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