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Art Statement: Ascension Series

The Ascension Series, a compelling collection of meticulously crafted wooden sculptures, transcends conventional artistic boundaries, offering a deep exploration of flight as a spiritual journey. Born in Tehran during the ending years of the Iran-Iraq war, these sculptures stand as a profound synthesis of personal memories, political history, and a contemporary commentary on the complexities of the world.

Against the canvas of my recollections, where sirens wailed and shelter-seeking became an urgent response to the roar of Iraqi jets, the series unfolds as an introspective examination of the lasting impact of conflict. Visual propaganda, seen in monumental murals post-war, venerating fallen heroes, formed the backdrop for an indelible narrative—the persistence of war's presence.

The series draws inspiration from the Farsi verb Salaka, meaning "to follow or travel," embedding the viewer in the spiritual journey. A sālik, a follower of Sufism, embarks on a sulūk—a spiritual pathway—revealing flight as both a physical and metaphorical act. In the Ascension Series, flight becomes a sulūk, a personal and political pathway influenced by my childhood memories of warplanes and contemporary geopolitical tensions between the United States and Iran.

Delving into the academic and contemporary art world, the series positions itself as a testament to the artist's adept engagement with the multifaceted discourse of today. It exists as an intersection of memory and theory, embodying the artist's deep exploration of the interplay between personal narratives and broader sociopolitical contexts.

The selection of wood as the primary material in this collection holds profound significance. Rooted in Iranian tradition, where most musical instruments are crafted from wood, this deliberate choice is a nod to cultural heritage. Importantly, the shift from the metallic essence of airplanes to the warmth and resonance of wood serves as a metaphorical transformation—from the starkness of war elements to the nuanced expression of art. It echoes the evolution of materials from utilitarian and destructive to artistic and contemplative.

Growing up in Iran amidst the echoes of war, the Ascension Series becomes a poignant reflection of my own war memories, a visual articulation of the complex landscape of growing up in a nation marked by conflict. The deliberate material transformation, from the cold efficiency of airplane metal to the organic warmth of wood, adds layers of meaning, inviting viewers to consider the transformative power inherent in the act of creation.

The Ascension Series invites you to engage with a narrative that extends beyond personal reminiscences, resonating within academic and contemporary art discourse, challenging perspectives on war, flight, and artistic transformation. It is a visual and conceptual journey, where the artist's adeptness in navigating academic and contemporary art worlds converges with a profound exploration of materials, cultural symbolism, and the deeply personal reflections of growing up amidst the shadows of war.

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