Andaruni Landscapes is a series of paintings, videos, prints, installations, and self-performances that explore personal history and dreams, bodies, prostheses, and collective history in a storytelling format from across Iran’s modern history, while also dealing with elements of fear and trauma. It represents the psychological breakdown of my nation. The series combines family portraits and courtyard architecture with Persian historical documents to unveil part of denied feminist history and connect viewers with the resilience and agency of Iranian women. This series juxtaposes Iran’s past with the present, history with memory, east and west, and fiction with reality. These works are meant to be portals to a reconstructed world with significant signs and symbols from my cultural heritage and religion. Throughout, my work questions Colonial and Orientalism perspectives and religious imposition.
In this collection, I reconfigure the Persian Andaruni (courtyard) as an anthropological architectural space. I use group portraits from albums of female family members, their households, and belongings to introduce a cultivated female agency. These spaces are the traditional private domain of women and can be seen as a political and social platform in Iran’s patriarchal culture and through the major political changes in the country’s centuries-long history.
Conceptually, I extended these spaces beyond their physical realm to interrogate psychological and social spaces through the interdisciplinary use of the material from my memory. I believe humans require a discourse of memory to understand the essence of the everyday lived world.
My perspective is necessarily broad. The accounts of this community of women are comprised of the totality of many stories as well as my own. The domestic space means more than just the delimited enclosures of my grandmother's house. By using a more expansive definition of the term, Andaruni, to connote the geographic, legal, political, historical, temporal, and other meanings, these perspectives have enhanced my own understanding.