last solar eclipse of the 20th century

The ocean of planets and stars in this installation is created with an odd assortment of American kitsch craft objects including Afghan blankets that, despite their name, are not from the Middle East. While traveling in Iran, I began collecting esfand handicrafts. These are items made with the seeds of wild rue, which when burned, is believed to ward off bad spirits like the evil eye. I was surprised to find some esfand objects in the shape of yarn art known in the States as “god’s eyes” or “ojos de dios”, as they migrated to the U.S. from Mexico. God’s eye yarn art is not indigenous to Iran, but like the Afghan blanket, it has taken on a hybrid identity.

My parents left Iran just before the Islamic Revolution and I’ve lived in the U.S. since I was an infant. My heritage as an Iranian is often overshadowed by my experience growing up in the States, but it remains a present force in my life. During my first visit back to Iran as an adult, I experienced the last solar eclipse of the 20th century. This installation is about the obfuscation of culture and the memory of a big sky that transcends my life as an Iranian and American.

Los Angeles Times review by Christopher Knight