by Monica Salazar, video by BAL Productions // Nov. 15, 2011
Sara Rahbar, a mixed media artist based in New York, hails originally from Tehran, Iran. In 1981, a 5 year-old Rahbar fled with her family, travelling for over seven days from Tehran to Turkey to Dubai and then finally to New York during the aftermath of the Islamic Revolution and in the beginning of the Iran-Iraq war. Her personal experience in and between these two often conflicting countries is reflected through her unique perpective on religion, nationalism, politics and war.
Through installations, photographs and sculptures, each assigned a movingly poetic title, she outwardly communicates her ongoing internal dialogue about the world around her. She travels back-and-forth between Tehran and New York, as well as through cities in between, obsessively collecting a multitude of textiles and found objects, including such aggressive and powerfully symbolic objects as gasmasks, prosthetic limbs, weapons, flags and forceps. She then mixes and arranges these items together to create a new beautifully calm context that surprisingly evokes more ideas of peace than war.
Her work has been widely exhibited internationally, including Cairo, Mumbai, Dubai, Madrid, Vienna, Moscow, New York, London and Paris. It is also held in multiple collections worldwide, including the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Saatchi Collection in London, The Burger Collection in Hong Kong and the Devi Art Foundation in Gurgaon, India.