Ispahan Flowers Only Once
A note about the work in progress:
Traditionally, in my practice, I approach landscapes as a metaphor for politics and poetics. In 2019, I was awarded a Creative Capital grant for a large public project to build a communal Persian garden in New York City as a platform for activism and healing. Inherently this project will be creating a space of hospitality, resistance and resilience.
I titled this garden project Ispahan Flowers Only Once to engage my audience and the visitors of the garden to think critically about historiography in tandem with pop culture centering the notion of native and immigrant flora. The cultivar is named 'Ispahan' after the city Isfahan in Iran, renowned for its gardens and roses. Ispahan is a damask rose that was introduced to Europe in 1832. It produces very full old-fashioned pink flowers with dark pink centers in clusters that are deeply fragrant with no repeat blooming. It is very winter-hardy, part shade tolerant and poor soil tolerant as well as highly disease resistant. While the rose is very symbolic in the project, the garden itself grows many other kinds of plants and flora which will be cultivated by immigrants, historians, thinkers, and marginalized communities.
This Persian Garden Project will be providing visitors with a private yet public environment in which to engage important social and cultural issues by gathering and gardening through conversations, screenings, readings, and communal performances. I’m imagining it more as a hub for activism and healing; a home for all marginalized, mediated, untold, and less celebrated stories.
Persian Garden Project has been a goal of mine for many years and now I strongly feel the need for creating this garden as a living public art standing on the ancestral knowledge, sustaining the momentum of justice for all. Currently I am looking for a socially conscious collaborator to provide a home for the garden to transform properties small or large into this growing sculptural lab to connect people and communities together for more environmental and climate justice possibilities.