Maryam was born two years after the Islamic Revolution and one year subsequent to Iraq’s invasion of Iran. These two pivotal events, the Islamic Revolution and the ensuing war, have constituted the foundation upon which her artistic works and research endeavours have been predicated.
She has recently graduated in visual art, TRANS orientation, from HEAD Genève, Haute école d’art et de design, in 2021. By having a job in digitally retouching photos, she was inspired to start collecting photographs and negatives. Throughout the years, her collection grew to more than 40,000 pieces ranging from the 1940s to the 1980s. Her artistic works are primarily based on this collection of photographs, wherein she investigates the ontology of photographs through printmaking, installations, textile art, and creative writing. Her interests centre on photography, the socio-political conditions of contemporary Iran, rituals, and feminism, with a focus on object-power relations. Her projects are characterized by a research-based approach that may span over several years, with a recurring emphasis on a particular subject matter that evolves into a sequence of works from fine art to socially engaged art.
Her interest in photography was inherited from her father, who demonstrated an unwavering passion for capturing family events and gatherings, always with a camera in hand. It was her father who gave her the first serious gift of a camera, initiating her lifelong connection to the medium. Furthermore, her mother instilled a fresh perspective on the role of photographs by interweaving them with memories and personal stories, elevating their significance to a cherished status, which required careful preservation. As a result, the photographic image and its intrinsic value have permeated her creative works across various contexts.
She looks at history from the perspective of ordinary people in her dissertation “A girl sitting on a chair”. Her focus on “history from below” is reflected in the thesis as it was represented in private photos.
She is carrying out a research on post-revolutionary transformation represented through everyday objects. The 1979 revolution was not solely a political transformation, but also a cultural one, its most palpable manifestation lies in the alteration of lifestyle and reconfiguration of contextual meaning assigned to objects. She examines the resistance to the dominant state culture through exploring the operation of photographs in manifesting private life. This project is representing complex interactions between objects, media, and power relations, with a particular emphasis on the theoretical implications of photography’s ontology.
The domain of textile craftsmanship and needlework has been a familiar terrain for her since childhood, as her family has deep roots in these traditions. Both the mother, a skilled seamstress, and other female members of the family, including grandmothers and aunts, have pursued professional careers in knitting and weaving. Given this rich legacy, she intends to draw upon these inherited skills and knowledge in the forthcoming project. The project “Vij, Boom!” (imitating the sound of an exploding grenade) is an ongoing exploration of suitable themes and forms.