Maryam Safajoo

“REPETITIOUS INSECURITY “  Opening Reception Fri.  July 22, 5-8pm  Closing Reception TBD

My paintings narrate the stories of the contemporary situation of the systematically persecuted Iranian Baha’i community – Iran’s largest religious minority – after the 1979 Iranian revolution.

I experienced this oppression myself in Iran. I remember the day in the early morning when government security forces burst into my home, ransacked it and took my father to prison; my younger sister was crying on her way to school. Later my sister was denied access to university and because of her quest to understand why, was placed in solitary confinement. These are only a few examples of what Baha’is around Iran have and are currently experiencing. My paintings narrate these stories which are a result of my conversations with the people who were near these actual events. Many of the incidents I depict only exist in the memory of those who experienced them and have no pictorial existence. In many cases if visual records did exist, they have been confiscated by the Iranian authorities in raids of homes. My depictions are often the first time these events have taken visual form. I record the details of this history. For example, the shoes, clothes, artifacts, and environments seen in my paintings are very close to those that were there in the event.

I take inspiration from interviewing, hearing, feeling, reading, and researching the stories of the Bahai’s of Iran.

My paintings tell the stories of this systematic persecution— including execution or murder, arrest, detainment, and interrogation. Tens of thousands more have been deprived of jobs, pensions and educational opportunities – including a systematic denial of access to higher education. Bahá’í cemeteries, and properties have been confiscated, vandalized, or destroyed, and many Bahá’ís have had their homes and other property seized or damaged etc. Throughout my work, I am constantly reflecting on the concept of a humanity free from religious prejudice including how we can eliminate all prejudice such as racism, sexism, nationalism, and how our prejudices can complicate or obfuscate the development of our community and prevent each other from growing. I often use my own body and those of my friends and family in my paintings. I’m working on this subject since 2013.

 

Opening Reception, Friday, July 22, 5:00-8:00pm

  • Exhibition dates: July 21 – Aug 13, 2022
  • Gallery hours: Thurs – Fri 2-6pm, Sat – Sun 12-4 pm