Going Back and Forth (MFA Thesis Show)

How many identities make one?

In the Going Back and Forth series, my hope was to invite my audience to think in-relation to the notions such as movement, traveling, construction of identities, and overlaid languages. 

The installation consists of 12 bodies (six pairs) of life-size photo plate lithography, which have been suspended from the ceiling of the gallery at eye-level. Each pair is made out of two self-portraits, both of which are in a seated position, with the faces looking at opposite directions. The same two self-portraits are repeated in each pair. However, through collaging, mono-print, and stitching threads onto the works I aimed to turn each pair into a distinct conversation between the opposite bodies.

Alongside the handmade prints, Going Back and Forth has a sound component, which is the same sound piece from The Traveller installation; a repeating stream of my voice in Farsi and English intertwined and weaved together, while I read part of a famous Persian poem called The Traveller from Sohrab Sepehri. As the poem engages in depictions of distance, emptiness, and sorrow, this sound component is an affective signifier for presenting the confusion and disorientation of in my mind and body as a result of dwelling in-between two languages. In a way, this sound piece adds another conceptual layer to the handmade prints. 

Through this installation, my hope was to convey how these different facets ultimately stem from the same roots but diverge significantly; how they hang on to each other while apparently growing apart, and how they deeply influence each other. In this state of being, the borders of past and present selves are constantly re/changing, re/shifting, re/constructing, and re/placing as my immigrant body-mind physically and/or virtually goes back and forth between the moments, memories, and places in time.

The Going Back and Forth installation proposes that one’s identities are not abandoned or replaced by new identities, rather, they are woven together to become something new.


~Nickle Galleries, University of Calgary, Aug-Sep 2016, ©Marzieh Mosavarzadeh.