Saman Sajasi, Artist & Immigrant
As an Iranian American politics has defined my life. My family moved to America when I was 12 years old. We were a middle class, taxpaying family but we always lived in a limbo. We moved here right after 9/11 and were faced with constant changing immigration laws which stopped us from traveling outside the country. This was very hard on my father who ended up losing his business in Iran, and in 2008 lost his business in America.
He passed away in 2009 and I found myself immersed more and more in my art, because it was the only constant in my life. My work represents dualities and paradoxes that I face and navigate as an outsider, fighting two battles on two different grounds. While fighting the perception of the west about my identity as an Iranian muslim woman, I am constantly battling with moral, personal, and cultural dilemmas and facing pressure to push the boundaries as a Middle Eastern woman.
The use of the maps gives me a feeling of being grounded, a reminder that I come from a land, a place, a location full of pride. They bring on memories, sense of nostalgia which grounds my soul. After living in america for 16 years and not being accepted, or recognized as a resident, and also being restrained from traveling to my home country has made me very repressed. Through these maps I have found my path, I travel the streets and the memories of the past, regain my heritage and cultural pride and fight the uncertainty, the feelings of being unfaithful to the West or East while living in the cracks and shadows, undocumented.
The patterns represent light, illumination, celebration and targeting. The pattern brings to focus or covers up dualities and conflicts that I face as an Iranian American woman. The use of the perfect geometric shapes represents the pressure and expectations of being a woman while dealing with conflicts of emotional and rational social anxiety and unfaithfulness to any culture.