Statement of Art

I visually narrate a thousand years of Persian women’s souls–tired souls, conveying the pressures of hegemonic masculinity and a society which tries to ignore them; I narrate their love, anger, silence, sadness and happiness. My works are about myself as an Iranian woman–my sense of reality, my identity. I paint the many flowers that grew even though patriarchal society tried to cut them. They reflect the floral patterns that remind me of my grandmother’s scarf, and my mother’s dress-making fabrics. These patterns signify/point to/reflect the beauty of a peaceful point in the middle of the dark life of contemporary Iran.

In my works I use fabrics and printing as collage, and combine(layers) my drawings with prints and patterns with figures of historical Iranian women. In my dreams I reconcile two worlds: I strive to illustrate a rich, colorful culture that has been faded by the dark shade of sadness.

Red Nightmare

There was a long time that I had horrible nightmares. It had been a habit. I should see them in my every sleeping. Some strange faces, some dead bodies, some cutting hands and feet… I had to stand against them and look at them. I was crying, I was alone and full of fright. My dreams reminded me of Stanley Kubrick’s films. I felt very strange and when I painted all scenes of my nightmares, I becamerelax.

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Lost moment

Exactly after finishing my Red Nightmares exhibition I experienced a horrible event. It was the real Red nightmare that I remember. I lost my lovely partner in a terrible car accident… I felt a big silence. All images and colors that I had watched before changed. I watched some other things in my head. I felt I love flowers especially small flowers. I love textures and motives. They calmed my heart. It was the beginning of a new life and new images.The Persian Miniature paintings affected me especially some Kelile and Demne ‘s illustrations that was so close to my painting formally. I felt many colors and motives that were so close to them. I used the motives of fabrics exactly on my paintings as collage.

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Like a Turtle

I lived with a turtle for years. I was so alone after a horrible event that had happened for me. My turtle was a kind of partner for me. I tried to talk to him and watch his habits. We were the same and I thought our “solitude” was the same. The solitude is not only for me but also is for contemporary humanity.I took many photos of him and drew him. Beside this matter one of my friends explained a fairy tale that was for the north of Iran and old mothers were telling their children: it was about a girl who swam in a river, suddenly a man arrived. She didn’t like that man see her bare body. So she asked GOD to save her from that shyness. God changed her to a turtle. I used this story too, and I mixed it with my emotional thoughts in my paintings.

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Penelope’s Melancholy

Always floral fabrics have motivated me to create a new imagination in paintings. After a long times I felt that I stop in my place with a very deep and strange feelings when I see even a little piece of floral fabric… I found that this matter reminds me my childhood when mom sewing a skirt for me full of small flowers. Beside this matter when I started this project I felt that I play a role of Penelope’s character in the famous story of Homer’s Odyssey. Penelope is the faithful wife of Odysseus, who keeps her suitors at bay in his long absence and is eventually reunited with him. She involved in sewing a fabric to get far the suitors. She told them every time this fabric finished I will marry…

Every moment I feel a new inspiration of our pictorial life, my head and my heart is full of paintings and I believe the graduate program plays an important role in the growth and refinement of an artist. I don’t want to limit my professional development by missing such a significant opportunity.

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Women Public Bathing

This series introduces visual aspects of my childhood memories about old public bathhouses of middle eastern women’s society with their special red towels that are called “Loung”.

I put together different floral fabrics and repeated motifs to find the manner of visual forms to reach a perception about inner soul of contemporary Iranian women and to reflect a sense of Iranian culture and tradition. Fabrics give me incentive to motivate my emotions to continue it to create a new world.

I do not want to represent the subject, directly. I treat the figures as color and form. I make a bridge from representational drawing to the abstract world of lines, colors, motifs and textures.

This series consists of two large paintings and a video piece in which original Iranian towels in different sizes hang, which is inspired by the towels hanging on wall of old bathhouse to dry.

Elham Bayati
May 2017

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