On friday Julia Carver, the curator of the project came for a studio visit. I was so glad that Raphaella and I had hung the objects up last week as she got a proper sense of how its going to work and look which photos cant really convey. There was a lot to discuss – the installation itself, the exhibition guide, presentation next week, the launch, PR for the object gathering etc. It’s like unravelling a ball of wool and it just keeps getting longer…I realise this is the first public project i have worked on where I have a sustained and close relationship with a curator, and I am really enjoying the interchange and support, we are a good match.
It was also good to be able to show her my parallel new work – from The Gifts of the Departed series – that is very much fed by and feeds into this project. I have just finished the ‘Mother Tongue’ piece and it’s the completion of a two year on-and-off process.I basically wrapped three of my mother’s rice cookers in wool and silk, then bound them in black binding and wrote three versions of the same song -based on a sufi poem by Rumi- on them, ‘Come , Come , My Beloved’ by Bijan Bijani. It was the song that was playing when i was in labour with Delia, my first child and I remember my mother sat there translating it to me, what an amazing moment of closeness it was – almost other- wordly.
The largest cooker is written on in farsi, the medium size one in romanised farsi and the third, smallest one, in the english translation. Julia called it the ‘prologue’ to The Gifts and i see what she means, in that the themes it draws on – core relationship through the female ancestral line from my mother to my daughter through me, the transmission and gradual loss of language, the importance of food as a form of love etc.
It felt very significant for me to finally finish it and to say goodbye to those objects and see that they can work in a totally transformed context but still speak of the work they once knew. I hope this will apply to the Gifts, which seems to be revealing new objects and their stories to me every day.