Camellia Jahanshahi — Beyond Graffiti

It started when I broke one of my great grandma’s crystal dishes. My heart broke thinking about how I ruined a beautiful thing that I could never bring back. It was important to me, even though I never met her and the stories I’ve heard about my great grandmother don't always paint her in the best light. I don’t have much family though, and I don’t have full access to the family I do have. For that reason I tend to romanticize the importance of heritage.  So I wanted to fix it. I tend to want to fix lots of things— to fill in gaps and explore things that no one wants to deal with. 

This project is me trying to fill in the gaps of my history that are created by loss. Loss of love, life, home, and spirit.  It’s a glimpse of the romanticized world I’ve created to compensate for my shortcomings in dealing with tragedy. An exploration of the things that stay when the rest are gone, something that tests the limits of impermanence. A notion I tend to be a little obsessed with as a person who grew up moving every few years and with a father who insists he knows how to make Khoresh but won’t talk about leaving his country and not returning for 31 years.

When an animal dies, when a relationship ends, when a life is over or a place is destroyed, physical casts are left in their place. Often unwanted, buried, or thrown away to show their lack of power or importance in our lives anymore. But those remnants can speak volumes and that is where this project comes in. 

With a focus on bringing new life and answers to old things I mix nature, science, and craft to explore these spaces. I take or sometimes create the bones of a relationship or a life and I see what I can do to warp and wondrously twist them into something fresh. A testament to what they were, what they could have been and how I ultimately wish to see them.  I recreate each piece, alter them in the image of the surreal and beautiful. I amplify the haunts on the haunting to glorify what was and is. An awful (see awe filled) nature poem from me to the universe.

That is what my body of work is for me and what I hope you can experience from it. I hope that as you look at these pieces you see each has a unique story but all are bound in their recreation. Thank you.