“Cheltikeh”

My camera, which ironically this time is not in my hands, explores a multitude of answers in “Cheltikeh”. The word means 40 pieces in Persian. It conceptually means infinity and the word for quilt as I see my life as a quilt of experiences.

My marriage ended in the winter of 2016, and immediately after I moved to the United States to pursue my art. As a result of these significant changes, I walked in the streets alone and deepened my understanding of my identity, my culture, and all of my past relationships. I analyzed my experience living in the US and the new layer it has added to my life. As an Iranian far from home, I experienced the emotional effects of time difference, physical distance and political conflicts. Sometimes, I shared my feelings with friends and heard their experience as well. Then I borrowed their cloths or what meant to them as home or identity.

Besides, while walking in the streets I found much abandoned furniture on sidewalks and roads. They did not belong to the streets and had a temporary and unbalanced presence which resembled a similarity to my place in the world. Using the elements/fabrics, I acted as if I was in my home and asked my friends to photograph me with those abandoned objects. Not all of them were photographers or artists but sharing my stories helped them to understand the performance.

I do not know where my home is, and no physical wall or boundary can define my sense of home. Most times rather than being responsive I am questioning what has made me or is important for me. My goal for "Cheltikeh" is to represent all of this complexity through collaboration with a diverse group of friends who have the same experience of living far from home and watch the layers of my identity unfurl through their perspective.

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