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Sara Rahbar | Iran/USA

Rescue Me from Who I Am and What I Am Becoming, 2011

Flag
130x243 cm

Courtesy of the artist and Carbon, Dubai

Rahbar was born in Tehran and lives and works in New York City. She left her homeland during the war between Iraq and Iran, leaving hellfire in favor of a distant world, offering possibilities the war has taken away, but not without questions that constantly accompany her.

Rahbar’s work is a meeting between longing and memory, between memories and the exposure to a new world. She lives between two worlds, between the cultures, and between infinite customs, outlooks, and tastes. That is the distance between Tehran to New York and back, a journey from tradition and national belonging to contemporaneity.

In her work, Rahbar uses the different identity symbols of these separate worlds. The flag motif recurs, to which she adds and subtracts images and forms, colors and adornments. It is a collage of reality and absence, of ornate decorations and calligraphy from her native land, intertwined with rigid straight lines of other cultures.

It is an aesthetic meeting between expressions of tradition and meticulous Western design, bringing forth the cultural contradictions in her life.

In her work, a thing and its opposite both bring up the absence of a home on the map and her feeling of alienation. "Is it possible that all human beings are in a kind of exile, a temporary visit to our world? A world to which we come along and which we leave alone, and while we are here we desperately look to belong to something or someone," asks Rahbar.