Between 1980-1988, the Iran-Iraq war killed half a million soldiers and nearly as many civilians. This war, like all others, created divisions along the fault lines of religion and politics. I was most interested in transcending these divides by focusing on the individuals who succumbed to death. Exhibited in the city of Ahwaz in Iran, 2013, Eight Paradise is a living, metamorphosing memory of the lives lost.

The installation included eight metal stands, representing each year of the war. Each stand held a personal object of a martyr, such as a rosary, a book, or an ascot, encased in an ice cube. The objects were intentionally chosen as a material representation of the person’s soul. Under the hot southern sun, the ice slowly melted, the drops collecting in a bowl at the bottom of the stand. It made the sound of rain.
In death, the soul leaves the body and we become a spirit; we are transformed from one element to another. Water, in its solid form, is ice; as it melts it returns to its liquid nature. To me, the death of these individual martyrs did not represent the loss of a physical body, but rather the transition into spirit. In Eight Paradise, I was able to manipulate the audience’s remembrance of death by focusing on the transformative nature of life.

EventMuseum of Contemporary ArtMediumInstallationYearOctober 2013/ Ahwaz, Iran

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