For some time, I have been fascinated with the concept of ‘Self’ and its manifestations. The question that has always been with me: who am I? What defines identity, can I change it, choose it, or even leave it entirely? This fascination ultimately brought me back to my roots. As a result of this, I am currently working on a book based in Persian Mythology: “The Conference of the Birds”. This is a symbolic Persian story of the soul’s search for truth and was a source of influence on these pieces.
The birds gather to seek a king (divine) and the wisest of them suggests they undertake a journey to the court of the great Simorgh (meaning 30 birds) where they can achieve enlightenment. They pass through seven Valleys before reaching the abode of the great Simorgh. Only thirty birds make it to their destination. There they find that they themselves, collectively, have become the great Simorgh.
The pieces I have created are a combination of Persian Calligraphy and photography.
Image: Nasrin Golden "The conference of the birds series" Peacock, Mixed Media, Variable size, 2021
The following are descriptions of some previous projects I have worked on over the past 3 years. A thread that runs through all these projects is that of ‘identity’ and one’s ‘sense of self’.
What’s depicted here is the unseen and often forgotten aspect of ourselves – ‘The Watcher’. When we get drawn into the ‘reality’ of the world, the Watcher disappears. However, even if it may be forgotten, it never truly disappears.
Can you simply be with the pieces, in silent observation? Or do you notice an internal narrative running? The observer is that part of us which experiences directly, prior to analytical thought. The invitation here is to simply observe with heightened awareness.
Image: Nasrin Golden, The Watcher, IV, Photograph, Fine Art Print, Variable size, 2021
Replication is a series of large scale black & white photographs (the original images are taken by analog camera). The photographs are taken from inside buildings underconstruction in Tehran. By replicating and mirroring black & white images of the past, Icreated geometric shapes and patterns rooted in an unseen and underlying reality. This project has connotations with Persian abstract art and architecture, known for the use of geometric forms and patterns of ritual origin. Images from the past are drawn together to convey a new, albeit unsettled reality.
The hypothesis is that the mechanism for shifting perception may be universal. Perhaps there is no order of magnitude in difficulty. If one can change how they see form within the World, do they not also possess the capacity to change perceptions of self?
Image: Nasrin Golden, Replication, Photograph, Fine Art print, 231.23 x 153.89 cm, 2019
We all live within a tiny box called ‘Mind’. The Mind is split with a line creating two seemingly contrasting sides in binary opposition. It’s the yin/yang or the Persona/Shadow.
Both sides seem opposing but, in truth, feed each other. Both are always equal. The Persona is really a reaction to the Shadow; an attempt to value as ‘good’ what the Shadow has determined ‘bad’.
All evaluations in this duality (objective/subjective, strong/weak, achieving/complacent, sacred/profane, feminine/masculine, seeking/dwelling, interconnected/isolated, rational/irrational, mature/immature) are all the same. We remain slaves within this box until we dis-identify with it and find a way out. Versatility presents the conflict experienced within this inner ‘Box’ as we come to terms with the inevitable realisation that freedom comes through surrender.
My aim is to question both sides of this duality and invite observers to consider the freedom found outside the split Mind.