Circulating around Shulamit Gallery’s quietly beautiful new exhibit that features artists Doni Silver Simons and Pouya Afshar, a single work caught my eye.
[This new-ish art gallery, steps away from Venice Beach, has as its mission the support and promotion of Israeli and Iranian artists.]
“Nowruz,” the photo-realist work, above, decorates an alcove of the multi-leveled Venice art gallery’s second floor. Chatting with owner/curator Shula Nazarian, I learned that the photo-tableau has special timeliness — its very title refers to the 13-day Persian New Year festival, which begins today.
Nazarian, who represents artist Tal Shochat, shares her understanding of “Nowruz,” the art work:
“The artist is channeling her grandmother, the family matriarch. It reaches beyond that, to the biblical matriarchs. The way she’s wearing her head scarf; the way she’s looking at the audience; her prominence and the confidence in how she’s sitting; it all evokes queenliness,” says Nazarian. “And she’s holding a rimon [a decorative ornament of the Torah], which resembles a staff.”
Poetry, written in Farsi, lines the photo’s bottom border in the framed version. Says Nazarian, “It quotes the very well-known feminist poet Forough Farrokhzad. In the text, Farrokhzad describes leaving her land, the land of her father, traveling beyond her childhood home.”
In the text, as well, are references to Iranian gardens. Images of gardens, roses, and vegetation appear in the carpets.
The work is a quiet, lovely and festive acknowledgement of the women of Iran and their historic role perpetuating Persian culture and civilization.
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Tal Shochat was born in 1974 in Netanya and currently lives and works in Tel Aviv. Her work has exhibited at various museums within Israel, including the Herzliya Museum, Tel Aviv Museum, Israel Museum, and Haifa Museum of Art. In 2005 she received the Israeli Ministry of Education and Culture Prize for a Young Artist. Her work is in important collections including The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, and the Shpilman Institute of Photography, Tel Aviv. Most recently Shochat was honored with a solo exhibition at the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia (2012).
Tal Shochat, Nowruz (detail), 2012, C-print, 109 cm x 161 cm
Now on at Shulamit Gallery: de-noue-ment Doni Silver Simons Pouya Afshar | opens 21 March
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