Self portrait (2017-2019)
In 1986, I was 10 years old and I was living in Iran with my family. During the war, my father – a university lecturer – was given an opportunity to travel and stay in Australia and do research in his field at the University of Queensland.
We all followed him and stayed in Australia for the whole academic year. I didn’t know the culture, let alone the English language. My mother enrolled my little brother and I in a catholic school where we learned English with nuns to blend in quickly.
To spend time, as a hobby, my mother encouraged me to collect flowers and plants and put them to dry in a notebook and thus build a collection of local species.
At the end of the school year, as our visas and my father’s research contract were expiring, he decided to return to Iran in the middle of the war, rather than stay there to seek asylum.
He was afraid of losing his dignity and his status as a university lecturer while living as a refugee. Back to Iran, we had to undergo and suffer the random bombing alerts.
Over the years, I found myself living in different countries always looking for a place I could call “home” and observing flowers and plants fading and dry was my inner safe place.
The fragile nature of rootless plants is a mirror to my own existence. I started using them in my artwork in 2018, as a testimonial of an uprooted immigrant living with a decaying health.
“Self portrait”, Mixed media, 2017-2019