My long marriage ended in the winter of 2016, and I moved to the United States to pursue my art studies right after. Attuning to these major changes, I walked in the streets alone deepening my understanding of my identity, my culture, and all of my past relationships. I thought about 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 burden of the time difference, physical distance, and political conflicts.
Absorbed in those thoughts, I saw many abandoned furniture pieces on sidewalks and roads. I wondered, they did not belong to the streets and had a temporary and unbalanced presence that resembled a similarity to my place in the world.
I shared the emotions with friends and heard their stories as well. Sometimes, they showed me the objects or clothes from their home that gave them a sense of belonging or identity. Using the objects, I left the camera in their hands and created a performance with that street furniture. Although they were not professional photographers or artists, sharing my memories helped us to understand the performance and add their point of view.
By letting a diverse group of people observe me, I reached a new perspective on myself. Through their lens, I sow the solitude and power of a woman. I saw her feminine identity as well as her connection with the objects surrounding her. I saw her as thousands of different pieces which together represent her as Maryam.
Cheltikeh in my language, Persian, means 40, infinity, and maturity. It also means a quilted piece, as I see my life as a quilt of experiences.