TABALVOUR by Sara Niroobakhsh
mixed media, saffron, sodium borate, personal objects video
year created: 2020
“In the summer of 2020, a friend gifted me a crystal to help me cope with the loss of my mother. She believed that the crystal assisted us in overcoming hardship by offering alternative positive outcomes to a loss. I opted to begin by recreating a corner of my mother's room and growing crystals on some of her personal favorites by immersing them in a solution of saffron and hot saturated sodium borate liquid to enable the material to stimulate the objects and gradually create dendritic crystals.”
Artist’s Connection to Theme: During this creative process, while crystals were forming on Sara’s skin, she realized the parallel to the tiny cancer cell growth that ravaged her mother's body for eight years. For the first time in her life, she was able to view cancer/death as something that transferred her suffering body to a more valuable thing, something akin to an underground treasure that does not digest or dissolve but rather reproduces in another form under extreme heat and pressure; where molecules form strong covalent bonds and begin growing crystals.
Image Description: Still photo from installation of chair, table and woman’s shoes covered in crystals. Objects are red, against a black background.
Sara Niroobakhsh is an Iranian-born artist, internationally established for her performative and visual concepts that engage the globalizing feminine psyche. Working in video, photography, painting, and found objects, the inner dialogue of a woman’s duty versus desire is a theme that threads through all my works. Her performance-based photography series, Rainfall, which received a Banff Centre Residency Award and debuted at Art Space Hamra in Beirut in 2015, illustrates the silent dance between the banal and the mystical that takes place in ordinary women’s work. In The Party, one of her latest installations at Gallery 44, supported by an Ontario Arts Council Grant, ritual becomes an artistic tool to engage Iranian archetypes of womanhood and social narratives of self. Using tea trays to reference the cultural workings of Iranian hospitality or Taarof, the piece asks us to reflect on the simultaneous elevation and erasure of self that defines acts of service. Recent exhibitions of her artworks have been held at the Czech China Contemporary Museum in Beijing, South Korea’s CICA Museum, Spartanburg Art Museum and her last two solo exhibitions in Canada, a performance-based series, Zaghareet, at Varley Art Gallery of Markham in summer 2019 and a performance installation art project, I, Saffron at Goldfarb Study Centre Gallery at York University in winter 2019. Sara’s work evokes the feminine realm as she draws from the personal, mythological, and cultural to originate on themes of beauty, isolation, creativity, and fertility.
Frame: Digital presentation at https://vimeo.com/490651841
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