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Artist statement

I paint on the back side of discarded paper packaging—mostly from food products and waste papers. For years, the act of drawing on any available surface became a fun daily practice for me. Gradually, painting on these found surfaces turned into a ritual, and then therapy. Soon, I realized I found a personal technique of accessing my subconscious mind. So, the content of my paintings is wherever my subconscious mind took me; from literal subjects to conceptual and symbolic. And my style is whatever my emotions took me: Surrealist, Expressionist, or Raw. I paint mostly on the back side of paper packages specially food packages, which comes from my obsession with waste, especially food waste. I paint with marker, pen, acrylic colors, and sometimes with pastels because they are quick tools that help me with momentary drawing. I don’t follow any style or movement or technique because I have my own: RECYCLED PAINTING. Painting on food garbage packages is a painterly protest against food waste.


How I started to paint on the backside of discarded paper packages and waste/found papers:

Although I started the formal painting Education at the age of nine and my paintings were more than what is expected from a teenager but it was not extraordinary for me until my father’s death when I was 17. The emotional shock of my father’s death was the beginning of a journey of self-discovery, and drawing and painting were my main tool in this journey. The momentary drawing on anything turned into a need; to take control of my emotions and thoughts. When I was feeling heavy emotions, I felt the need to draw. I was drawing on anything--a paper cup, books, sandwich paper wrap, leftover paper from packages of whatever I had purchased… anywhere in the taxi or bus, in classes, in a restaurant, etc. That’s how I started to draw on paper packages. First, I was drawing on the front side of packages; then I realized the blank backside of paper packages are more textured and more beautiful for painting. Then, I tried to paint on an opened flat box and started playing with lines and shapes inside the interesting shapes of the opened box (die-line). As a graphic design student, I was fascinated by the interesting shapes of packages die-lines. Painting on different packages with different sizes and die-line shapes became my most exciting adventure. Painting on rectangular and regular paper sizes is boring. Besides, painting on garbage packaging had a greater benefit: I didn’t have to spend money on paper or canvas when I was a student and financially struggling. Moreover, I love paper. Every piece of paper has its own unique beauty, texture, and color. As it is a part of design training, I know papers very well. Every beautiful piece of paper in trash bin bothers me because it's piece stolen from the nature. Besides, I love papers that are not rectangular or square. That's how I started to paint on found papers sometimes.


How Food waste became my obsession:

After the sanctions against Iran, money became tight, and It was not easy to transfer money from Iran, and I was always cutting my food budget to have enough money for school and rent. Besides, I witnessed a huge amount of good food going to the trash bins in resultants and school cafe, and It broke my heart, especially when I was seeing homeless people begging for $1 to buy food outside the restaurant. Why do people waste food while that wasted bite can save a life? Moreover, I was born in the middle of the Iran & Iraq war. I grew up in an era that resources were limited in Iran, and extravagance was criticized. After moving to the US, shockingly, I was faced with overconsumption and extravagance, especially in food. Food waste was in huge contrast with all I experienced and learned from my family and culture.


That is how food waste became my obsession and since then painting on food garbage packages became my silent protest against food waste.


Each painting comes with a piece of poetry; I wrote the poem while I was working on the painting so the poem and the painting is narrating the same story. My paintings and poems are stories of years of expressive emotions about death & life, war, sexuality, growth, pain, femininity, discrimination, and immigration. I wrote the poems in Farsi language; the original poems in in Farsi and Shole Wolpe translated them to English.

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