July 31, 2020

Where does imagination meet experience in narratives from the Iranian diaspora?

Mina Heydari-Waite

Installation (film, ceramics, valchromat, velvet, riso print & text)همسفر, 2020

همسفر (‘Hamsafar’, translation: Fellow Traveller) is a stylised environment in which an assembly of props act as visual and audio cues, weaving together a semi-fictional narrative set in both the past and future. I am interested in the process of how Iranian cultural histories are relayed and how the second generation collect and reassemble these cultural experiences. Collective historical narratives are scattered, multiple, and sometimes contradictory in nature and, for Iranians who grew up outside Iran, these narratives are often a mixture of fiction, fantasy, memory and research. Maybe diasporic storytelling can be a vessel; a means to carry something to a home that acknowledges its foundations are built on a place where imagination meets experience. Semi-fictitious recollections and speculations can parallel the ways diaspora artists look for an individual voice in the complex plurality of shared histories; creating new settings for themselves and imagining possible counter futures in a time when the present often feels it is sliding into dystopia.