Untitled (Woman with Yellow Flower Crown and Patterned Curtains)
That photograph came from eBay. It’s from Lebanon. What’s really interesting about it is the presence that she had, this sort of regal quality, which is why I incorporated the flower crowns. It’s a sort of a beautification of the original photograph. It’s a way of allowing the viewer to see the person again, in a different, re-enlivened context. For me, a lot of times when I’m collecting photographs, there’s a sort of falling in love process with each one. My father is Iranian, although I never met him. There are a lot of ways in which I think about those childhood memories in this specific photograph.
“Forgetting Is So Long is a series where I’m taking abandoned or discarded family photographs that I find in a variety of places like eBay, or vintage shops, and enlarging them to life-size through a scanner and painting over them. For me they’re very much about memory, identity, loss, as well as longing…. I’m thinking of an anthropologist named Michael Taussig who talks about defacement of sacred objects and how it sort of shocks them back into being. I think often that defacement is considered an act of violence. For me, it’s very much about being so in love with the person in the photograph, wanting them to return to the present again.”