Interviewed by: Eliana Blechman
We asked Roya Amigh a few questions about her practice, her choice of materials, and the influence of Persian mythology on her work. Read on for more...
Art-in-Buildings: The Abrasion deals with a very dark subject matter, acting as an abstract representation of a survivor of assault, while your chosen materials are very light and airy with calm and quiet colors. How did this contrast in subject and medium come about?
Roya Amigh: The delicacy of my work with translucent papers and minute stitchery-like forms embodies my exploration of memory and its manifestation through layered scenes referencing bits of historical Persian storytelling. Using basic, easily accessed materials such as paper, glue, scraps of fabric or lace and colored threads leads me to chronicle lingering contemporary issues. "Abrasion", is an abstract commentary on abuse. This installation consists of delicately entwined pieces of stories on papers and lace strung en masse throughout the window that reveal fragile and often ephemeral reflections of forlorn memory.
AiB: How does Persian mythology influence your practice?
RA: My method of pairing present day issues of concern with selections of historical storytelling allows me to create my own mythologies that address societal problems of today.
I incorporate symbols from mythology that include beings such as Huma, Dragon, and Daeva as they appear in the writings of the Persian poets Rumi, Ferdowsi, and Hafez. For instance, in my work, Huma becomes a metaphor of the female and represents the strength of women to go beyond all the limitations, since she never lands and flies invisibly high above the earth, impossible to spot through the human eyes. According to Sufi lore, Huma represents the evolution of a thought to the zenith where it breaks all limitations.
AiB: How did the limited space of the West 10th Window impact your work?
RA: The interior of the West 10th Window space was an exceptional opportunity for me to create the spatial and mystical qualities considering shadow and light with each other.
I was particularly intrigued by the elements of light, shadow and material for this project. Using lightweight materials to create the spatial qualities and application of shadow and light with each other gives a mystical sense of the space strain between the West 10th Window's walls and floor as though paralyzed by female trauma. The triangle dark pieces of cloth resemble a flock, which is emphasized by the light that gives a dynamic quality to the form.
AiB: Though largely contained within the West 10th Window, there are a few points at which the materials extend outside of the confines of the window (the small black triangles stuck onto the outside of the window). What is the intention behind this subtle gesture?
RA: I am interested in creating moments, which despite being almost invisible have an essential role in transferring the work into a new physical space. By doing so, I invite my audience to first engage with my work visually and then through productive conversations.
AiB: What's next for you?
RA: I am building a new body of work for two upcoming solo shows – one in Lincoln, NB, and the other in Brooklyn, a few group shows in NY and MA, as well as preparing for a discussion panel and bookbinding workshop in The Art Complex Museum in Duxbury, MA, 2017.