The Craft & Folk Art Museum (CAFAM) presents Displacements: The Craft Practices of Golnar Adili and Samira Yamin, an exhibition of new works by Iranian-American artists Golnar Adili and Samira Yamin. Taking the repetitive craft practices of paper-cutting and hand-stitching beyond traditional parameters, both artists utilize old family photographs and archives to produce mixed- and multi-media works that are steeped in diasporic loss and longing. Displacements: The Craft Practices of Golnar Adili and Samira Yamin has been curated by Arash Saedinia and will be on view from January 26 to April 27, 2014.
Adili and Yamin have created two distinct bodies of work for this exhibition that explore memory and the loss of loved ones—for Adili, her father and for Yamin, her grandparents —from whom the artists lived a great distance due to historical and political circumstances. The result is a series of works built from repetitive, almost obsessive gestures that mine a variety of classical Iranian traditions, including Persian poetry and Islamic sacred geometries.
Adili’s hand-stitched works are largely derived from images of her deceased father and his own words, excerpted from his hand-written letters. In the work “Perhaps All of the Sky is Unable to Lift a Page of This Sadness,” Adili has stitched the Persian lettering from one of her father’s letters onto the image of a Spantax airliner, signifying the cross-continental divide between them. In other works, disembodied images of her father’s arms are pressed into plush bedding that evoke both his physical absence from her upbringing, as well as his deathbed in his struggle against cancer.
Yamin’s reconfigured images of her grandparents in their youth explore a conflicted relationship to photography; though an image can produce a connection to one’s own past, it can never speak to the nuance of lived experience and memory. Employing an intricate cutting technique, Yamin distorts a series of acetate photographs, which are then placed inside frosted light boxes and illuminated using mirrors. In the video installation “Scotoma,” named after a neurological disruption of the visual field associated with migraine, these cutting techniques are rendered and recorded in sequence to animate the distortion of an archival image of Yamin’s grandparents
The repetitive labor that both artists employ signifies a skilled, intimate, and bodily way of making that is a vital part of their practice and process. It is in the very act of making that both Adili and Yamin attempt to connect with their lost loved ones and to copewith the trauma of that unfulfilled desire.
Golnar Adili was born in 1976 in Virginia, and moved to Iran four years later. She returned to the United States to attend university, receiving her BFA in Painting from University of Virginia, Charlottesville in 1998 and MA in Architecture from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 2004. She lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
Samira Yamin was born in Illinois in 1983. She received dual BAs in Studio Art and Sociology from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2006 and her MFA in Studio Art from University of California, Irvine in 2011. She lives and works in Los Angeles.
CAFAM members will be able to preview Displacements: The Craft Practices of Golnar Adili and Samira Yamin on Saturday, January 25 starting at 12:00 p.m. The members opening reception will take place on Saturday, January 25 from 6:00 - 9:00 p.m. The reception is open to the public for a $12 admission fee.
CAFAM will offer exhibition-related workshops and events in conjunction with the exhibition, including CraftLab family workshops on the second Sunday of each monthfrom 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.
Discussion and tour with curator Arash Saedinia and Samira Yamin Sunday, February 16 | 3:00pm
Illusory Tropes and Scopes Workshop with Samira Yamin
Sunday, March 30 | 12:30-4:00pm
Samira Yamin will lead a workshop on creating 19th century optical toys and animation devices. Participants will create a large collaborative zoetrope, which will stay on display in the museum, and create smaller devices to take home.