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There are few things more exhilarating than the opportunity to travel. This last week of May, I had the privilege and pleasure of taking a quick trip to New York City. My first gallivant around the city was a visit to the Guggenheim museum to take in Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian’s retrospective.
Encompassing two floors of the museum, Monir’s mirror work sculptures and personal study drawings offered me a glimpse into a different kind of Iranian art which I’d never been exposed to. Mirror work, of course, is a very artisan craft with a long history in Iran. But what happens when one places this craft onto a pedestal and into the white blank space of a museum?
The pieces are so intricate, so detailed, and there are so many facets to the mirrors; one is immediately confronted with a kaleidoscopic version of one’s face. An eye here, wisps of hair there… bits and pieces of you removed from the context of your body and made a part of the artwork itself. It’s incredible, and a bit disconcerting – there just isn’t getting away from one’s self. But again, perhaps that is the point.
I learned so much about Monir – about her upbringing, her life when she came to the States, and her eventual return to Iran. It’s always so inspiring to see what Iranian women have accomplished. These women puncture perceived boundaries – of culture, of nationality, of gender – and I wonder what is left but for us to widen the roads they’ve paved for us?
Here are photos of my favorite pieces – I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!