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Published on July 13, 2021

Minoo Emami

The Peace March, image courtesy of the artist and Kayafas Gallery, Boston, MA

The Peace March is a continuous project since 2014. A series of sculptures in which used prostheses have been transformed into art objects using modern and traditional techniques, methods, and materials. The Peace March is inspired by the females who suffered from the 1980’s Iran-Iraq war.

Diverse artistic techniques have been used including calligraphy; Persian tiles, tapestry, Bowed glass, textiles, traditional woodcut and carpet techniques. This project aims to highlight people’s devastation by the consequences of war, and especially woman, whose role has always been undermined in our society.

www.emamiminoo.com

Born in Iran, my initial major themes became war’s permanent consequences and institutional and domestic violence on women in fundamentalist environments. For the last 20 years I have worked as an anti-war and anti-violence artist. An essential function of my work is to engage and elevate the human spirit. My projects involve story-telling through metaphor, memories, tangible artifacts, and altered experiences. As a multidisciplinary artist I select from an array of mediums that include painting, drawing, photography, video, performance, and sculpture.

The purpose of violence is to injure or destroy the body and spirit. My art lies at the intersection of these conflicting dualities and embodies the tensions. Just as art seeks to transcend that which would hold it down, violence works to hold down that which would transcend it.

I have reimagined and transformed the permanent consequences of war and its aftermath from my personal life and experiences into art. With the portrayal and utilization of used prostheses, I transform the harsh realities of war into objects of beauty. This collection of work, then, is both profane and sacred. Peace March, which I began in 1997, is a series of three-dimensional works that seek to ameliorate the psychological wounds caused by war. These pieces employ used prostheses – hands, legs, and feet – which I have transformed into art objects using modern and traditional techniques, methods, and materials such as calligraphy, Persian tiles, tapestry and textiles, traditional woodcuts, mirror patterns and glass techniques.

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Each piece begins with a dialog with a woman who has been similarly were affected by war. This applies to women on both sides of warring countries. Each woman tells me their personal story, creating a bond that influences how a create each piece in the Peace March collection. The Peace March project works to translate violence into art in a sustained effort to empower women and to raise a unified voice against war and violence.

I consider myself a Diasporic artist. Displacement has been a large part of my personal experience. First by moving from the battleground city of Kermanshah on the Western border between Iran and Iraq to relative safety in Tehran. Family members left the country for the safety of their family to Europe and North America. My own Diasporic journey brought me to the United States. From the beginning, my work has reflected my life experience, offering empathic stance in support of women that share my experience.

Communication through poetry is essentially Persian which makes the title of this exhibition so appropriate. My work over the past few years has delved into archival research, unearthing and translating discovered images and artifacts into memories of a once peaceful country. Coded with metaphor and symbolism, like Simin Behbahini’s poem, my work is bittersweet, revealing, and offers the spirit of resilience. - Minoo Emami, June 2021