Something Left Behind

Culture shock became the main idea behind this series of work. As an Iranian woman moving to the States, the changes in language, appearance, and culture was unfamiliar. 

The most prominent change in my appearance was the freedom of wearing or not wearing a headcover. This change made me see my conflicting feeling about this object. The headcover emotionally connects me to my home country, culture, and past that are important part of my identity. Not having a hijab gave me the feeling of leaving something behind. 

As someone who has moved to a new place, after language, the difference in the dress code was a key change for me. At first it was very important for me to communicate the concept of Hijab and mandatory covering, but at some point, I moved past that.  What remained for me was playing with dualities like beauty – ugliness, freedom – restriction, order – chaos.  Dualities like how something can be beautiful and at the same time look ugly, or how you can find freedom next to restrictions. 

From this series of work, I begin working with actual body or object dimensions. This helped me to bring reality in my work. As an example, the canvas is of my bodily size, and the headscarf is depicted in its life-size. 

A technique I found in the process of tearing the canvas which was unraveling the canvas refers to the fringe of the headscarf in the beginning. This removed the patterns that I have made and the canvas became an object on its own. I also began working with spray paint in this series of work. The different pace between the process of spray painting and shredding canvas is fascinating to me. One is fast and the other one slows. Comparing my past and present, duality is an important aspect of my works. To show a sense of duality, I paint an object in two different ways. Also, compositionally, I separate the space symmetrically into two parts. The objects that I painted are figureless, but I wish them to suggest the absence of the body.

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©2020 by Sara Madandar