Elham Shafaei
Open Books

Black Farsi Text on White Fabric Flags hanging outdoors in a green space

March 2024 to ?? @ Pennant Place
928 NW 21st Ave, Gainesville, Florida  
Public Reception: March 31, 4-6:30 pm
Curated by Flounder Lee

Poems as a PDF (translation and originals)

Artist Statement

Persian poetry is a vital facet of Persian culture, weaves together spirituality, philosophy, and aesthetics. As an Iranian woman, I designed this project to highlight the often-overlooked contributions of seven Persian women poets across different centuries. The core idea involves extracting and stitching rhymes from the selected poems of the poets onto fabric. I redefine rhyme as a foundational and adaptable element that enhances the beauty and thematic depth of these literary masterpieces, emphasizing the connection between tradition and artistry.

Drawing inspiration from abstraction in Persian art, I use non-representational forms to convey the beauty and spirituality of my culture and theology. By presenting the poems in Farsi and employing intricate stitching techniques, the work bridges literature and calligraphy, showcasing Persian dedication to knowledge, aesthetics, and cultural identity.

Currently, stitching is my way of expression, and historically it is associated with women’s empowerment, and emerges as a poignant symbol within this narrative.

To enhance the sensory experience, I incorporate the sounds of scissors cutting threads. This sensory layer complements the visual and textual elements, immersing the audience in a captivating and multi-sensory journey through the realms of Persian poetry and the art of stitching.

Beyond its celebration of Persian poetry from the Islamic era, this project serves as a profound tribute to the pivotal role of women in preserving and transmitting cultural heritage across generations. It weaves together the threads of literature and art to create an enchanting exploration of Persian culture and its rich poetic tradition, all while highlighting the often-unsung heroines who contributed to its enduring legacy.

الهام شفاعی

Elham Shafaei

Artist Biography
Elham Shafaei received her B.A Bachelor of Painting (Arts) in 2007. In 2010 She moved to Malaysia where she obtained M.A (Fine Arts) in Papermaking and PhD (Fine Arts) in Painting that examined the role of melancholia in creative life through studio research as well as a written dissertation. In 2016 she relocated to Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, where she currently resides and pursues her studio practice. Her art has been featured in various regional and international exhibitions. Elham is the Co-Founder and Co-Editor at ContemporaryIdentities International Online Art Magazine-Gallery. She has initiated and continue to develop curatorial projects that endeavor to connect practitioners of contemporary art across the world. In 2021 she founded i.e. Art Projects Online Art Foundation. Currently, she is working as Industrial Fellow at School of the Arts, Universiti Sains Malaysia.

Her Website: elhamshafaei.com

Her Instagram

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