Smart Textiles Design Lab Blog at The Swedish School of Textiles

I come from…

Brief Project Description:
The central feature of the art piece is the artist’s picture printed on wool fabric covered with moth’s eggs. The eggs have been allowed to develop into larvae, which have fed on the wool fabric, making holes in it. A second layer, made of silk-organza fabric and printed in a Persian carpet pattern, can be seen through the holes. The two layers of fabric are isolated in a glass display case. The installation engages the audience in dialogue and discussion.
The artist and researcher is Marjan Kooroshnia, who comes from Iran.
Her nationality (represented by the Persian carpet) is one of the differences between her and the people who walk in the streets and sit in cafés. Her heart aches when she is seen as being different based on her nationality. This pain (the holes made by the moths) is like leprosy that slowly erodes her mind and her soul in her solitude.
She wants people to know she is different (if they want to), but that knowledge should be based on what she knows or has experienced, things she has made or what she has in her heart. This piece has been created to demonstrate how painful it is when we are judged only by our nationalities. This way of judging others results in destroying their personal identities, not their nationalities.

Artist Statement
The installation I come from… highlights the present conditions of foreign people and their struggle to integrate and exist in an unwelcomingly welcoming host country/society.
This global issue is deeply permeated into our society and is an inconvenient truth for the government and public alike as it requires us to take an honest and deep look within ourselves – it is no longer about “others” but about “us”. Through this work, I would once again like to highlight the political, social and cultural environment surrounding this issue and bring it up to discussion, because I believe it is important to talk about it no matter how uncomfortable and awkward it may be.
This work is the result of a process of reflection on my personal experiences as well as the experiences of those in similar situations who have felt the seed of rejection taking root deep in their hearts. A lack of platforms for such discussions has meant people have not been able to express concerns and initiate dialogues to achieve better understanding, reconciliation and healing. This piece gives voice to a silent longing to be accepted for whom one is rather than to be identified by one’s nationality and it also makes visible the unseen pain that is all too present around us. It was impossible to talk about the different nuances of pain I have experienced as a foreigner, but creating this installation has started to shed some light on this situation.

The installation is exhibited with the following quote:
“ His foreignness had a peculiar and indelible stamp. At last people became used to see him, but they never became used to him.”
Joseph Conrad, from the book Amy Foster

The piece was exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Borås, Sweden, between March 8th and May 5th, 2012

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