Who We Are
In 2019 I received the Creative Capital Award to build a Persian community garden in my adopted home—New York City. I will document the process of building this garden, and create a film that tells the story of the garden in parallel with the history of Wilber the Persian garden scholar and spy. This will be my first experimental feature film, and it will be screened in the pavilion.
I grew up in my grandfather’s splendid rose garden with a pool in the center and fig trees around it. My childhood was filled with joy, love, and poetry. My grandfather was spending a lot of time to teach me life through our garden. In fact he named me Bahar, which means spring.
There is an inevitable spiritual weight of the garden that fills the Iranian consciousness. As much as it connected with a romantic idea of paradise on earth but The Iranian garden is also a tale of negligence–of drought and contested space, it’s the story of paradise that unfolds contradictions and contrasts. I am a multidisciplinary artist and I’ve produced many paintings, videos and installations, as well as organizing workshops and gatherings, in which I use the Persian garden as a frame to tap into wider political and cultural issues... In my work I have interrogated Western versions of history and explored our individual perception of “place”.
— Bahar Behbahani
About Bahar Behbahani
Born in Tehran, Iran, Bahar Behbahani received her BA and MA in painting from the Tehran University of Art, in Tehran, Iran. Behbahani relocated to the US in 2002 and currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
Most recently, Behbahani’s work was featured in a solo exhibition at the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College. Let the Garden Eram Flourish was curated by Ugochukwu-Smooth Nzewi. In addition to the exhibition itself, she held more than 10 talks and interactive workshops among the students and academic community of Dartmouth college. Many of the paintings included in this exhibition traveled to Russia for the 7th Moscow International Biennale of Contemporary Art, curated by Yuko Hasegawa, in 2017. Along with the paintings, her project will also included a new work, The Color of Soil Never Lies. One of the artist’s largest installations yet, The Color of Soil Never Lies was specifically commissioned by the biennale.
In 2016, works from Behbahani’s Persian Gardens series were presented in the solo exhibition Garden Coup at Thomas Erben Gallery in New York. The exhibition was comprised of paintings and an installation structured around the conflicted figure of Donald Wilber—the well-respected Middle Eastern architectural scholar and American CIA secret agent, who was responsible for orchestrating the 1953 military coup in Iran. Organized in conjunction with the exhibition was a public discussion between myself and Dr. Shiva Balaghi. Hyperallergic published two features on the exhibition, by Seph Rodney and Bansie Vasvani. Later in 2016, Garden Coup also traveled to the 11th Shanghai Biennale, curated by Raqs Media Collective.
Paintings from the early phase of Behbahani’s Persian Gardens series were shown in a solo exhibition at Etemad Gallery in Tehran, Iran in 2015. The Garden of Heart’s Delight featured 10 large, mixed media paintings, as well as 10 works on paper, and was very well received in Iran and abroad.
Behbahani’s work is included in the permanent collections of the Queensland Museum, Australia; the Hood Museum of Art, New Hampshire; The Visual Arts Museum of Pasargad Bank, Iran; Time Equities, New York; Columbia Hospital, New York, and Sharjah Art Foundation, United Arab Emirates, as well as numerous private collections.
In conjunction with Behbahani’s exhibitions, and outside of them, she has been invited to speak at institutions such as the Hood Museum of Art, Hanover; John Jay College, New York; East Bay Media Center, California; Parsons School of Design, New York; St. John’s University, New York; Temple University, Pennsylvania; Dartmouth College, New Hampshire; Sharjah Art Foundation, United Arab Emirates, New York University AD, New York, and Baruch College, New York.
Visit the website baharbehbahani.com for more info...
About Creative Capital
Creative Capital supports innovative and adventurous artists across the country through funding, counsel, gatherings, and career development services. Creative Capital seeks to amplify the voices of artists working in all creative disciplines and catalyze connections to help them realize their visions and build sustainable practices.
Visit the website creative-capital.org for more info...
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