We are pleased to announce the upcoming exhibition The Anahita Scrolls containing all new work by the artist Aphrodite Désirée Navab at A.I.R. Gallery, opening April 23rd. True to Aphrodite’s practice, the works you will see are an intricate intertwining of performance and print, a true testament to the artist’s rich cultural background that blends Greek and Persian roots and is influenced by her life across both lands, as well as her life here in the US.
The exhibition will be on view through May 22nd, 2022 so be sure to stop by!
A few words about this new and exciting body of work:
This new body of work is influenced by and comes to embody references to the Persian goddess Anahita. Anahita is a revered warrior goddess of water and fertility dating back to circa 400 BC. She became a Zoroastrian Yazata [angel] and still, to date, holds an important place within the Zoroastrian practice.
By embodying and referencing Anahita, Aphrodite blends femininity with the strength and internal beauty that elevates her to a feminist icon. This brings her in direct contrast with the limited and subdued treatment of womanhood resulting from the patriarchal ideologies that shaped her childhood in Iran. The ruled-by-men theocracy that followed life under a monarchy eventually led her family to leave Iran, particularly after the Islamic Revolution 1978-79, leading them towards life in exile.
The artist takes this stance even further with her use of ink and printing methodologies contrasting, yet again, the calligraphy practice historically reserved solely for men. Her use of this blood-shot shade, however, is a vibrant and moving surprise for anyone more familiar with the artist’s work in black ink. The color red, deeply associated with three core elements that seem to permeate societies far and wide, represents the same in this work as well: life, death, and love.
Blood, being the very substance that keeps us alive, cannot but additionally bring to mind menstruation and the idea of bearing life through the female body as a vessel. A completely natural bodily function upon which the continuation of the human race depends, menstruation remains contested and presents a shock factor. Feminist ideology of the 20th century argues this is a result of collective societies transitioning into patriarchal models of ruling which rendered shame the ultimate tool of women’s subjugation – an effect that even goddesses did not evade. Observing Aphrodite’s direct skin imprint in blood-red, while referencing Anahita immerses the viewer in an emotional state so intense as can feel almost revolutionary.
View details about the exhibition here.