Art Statement: Simorgh
Born in Tehran amidst the tumultuous Iran-Iraq war and political upheavals of 1985, I found solace in the stories my parents shared to ease the anxieties of those times. Among them, my father's narration of the mythical bird, Simorgh, resonated deeply. Simorgh, a legendary creature found in Iranian literature, particularly in Shahnameh by Ferdousi and Conference of the Birds by Attar Neishabouri, became a cherished tale from my childhood.
Upon my migration to San Francisco in 2011, the city's diverse cultures and languages sparked reflections on displacement and immigration, drawing a parallel to Simorgh's narrative. In the story, birds embark on a journey to find Simorgh, symbolizing unity through the seven valleys of quest, love, understanding, independence, unity, astonishment, and poverty.
The installation titled "Simorgh" is a multi-sound and sculptural creation consisting of thirty hand and machine-made birdhouses arranged in a spiral configuration. This symbolic arrangement unifies the fragmented pieces, mirroring the collective spirit of the birds in the story. The birdhouses emit sounds recorded from identified birds worldwide, representing the voices of diverse individuals. The design of the birdhouses pays homage to the architectural traditions of human dwellings in Persian history.
Simorgh's narrative unfolds through the valleys—each birdhouse symbolizing a stage of the journey. In the valley of quest, one faces trials, leading to the valley of love where reason yields to the irrationality of love. Understanding follows, highlighting the endurance of comprehension beyond fleeting knowledge. The journey progresses through the valleys of independence, detachment, unity, astonishment, and finally, poverty and nothingness.
The installation invites viewers to traverse these valleys, mirroring the seeker's path toward unity and self-discovery. As each birdhouse emanates distinct bird sounds, it reflects the diverse voices of humanity converging into a harmonious whole. Simorgh, both a visual and auditory experience, pays homage to tradition while encapsulating the universal journey towards unity and transcendence.
In the valley of astonishment, the immersive installation calls attention to the dissolution of individuality as one becomes part of the divine essence—an ocean where distinctions between the present and future worlds dissolve. Simorgh transcends narrative and becomes an exploration of the human journey—where the individual, like a drop in the ocean, finds eternal peace in unity.