I Am a Historical Grief

Mixed media and collage on ceramic, metal cage, canvas and wood panel

“I Am a Historical Grief” is the name of this collection, as well as the name of a poem by Kurdish protesting poet Jalal Malaksha, which brings my mind back and forth from the past and the present time that I am living. Further, it has inspired me to look beyond current geopolitical borders by also considering the history of the lands. In my work, I go beyond the two-dimensional surface and step out of the canvas, the wood, and the surface on which I work; this is the same as my heart, which in all periods of my life – from birth to the present – has never been calm and at peace with the totalitarian governments.

As an artist, I do not intentionally choose to portray my historical moments, but rather this history is always repeating itself in my present. So, from somewhere far beyond the borders of my homeland – somewhere called the First World – I consider both my past and present when looking closely at the issues of the world around me. In fact, in my works, I record what I have seen, heard, and experienced from the history and world of politics with different colors and objects. Although some objects in my works have recurring identities, I am always looking for new ways to express myself. In my searching for objects to portray I generally look for old objects that have many stories hidden within them, as well as objects that I can give new meaning in order to tell stories of the present world. Some objects have specific identities and meanings: For example, the golden bowl in my work symbolizes the “bowl of repentance,” which has a historical significance, and in most parts of the Middle East, it has a special meaning for women. As another example, I use colored fabrics, each related to the scarves of women from different regions of the Middle East, to show my feminist purposes with these materials. As I mentioned, there are also objects that I, myself, give a new meaning, meanings that are consistent with my experience of war. Broken glass, for instance, may not have a special meaning in itself, but for me, it is a reminder of the shattered windows of houses that fell on the families in the war.

Colors are limited in my works; I usually only use black and red colors. Black is the color of mourning in my culture, and for me, it is the color of both the history that I have experienced, as well as my grief towards the Iran-Iraq war, including the daily killings, the increasing oppression, and the Middle East that has never seen a happy face. Red is the color of the blood that has been spilled on the ground, the blood of children and families all over the world. It is a sad reality that these two colors are constantly put together. In my opinion, history is forever mourning the children that have lost their life at war over the ages.

This collection was created from 2020 to 2022, and it will continue with further study, research, and understanding of historical-political issues in the Middle East and around the world.

Bahar daee, Art, Artist, Iranian Artist, painting, painter, iranian painter, Our History, History