Beet. Carrot. Yam. Onion. Ginger.
Over and over, I ask myself questions around identity and belonging with the hope of finding answers to lead me somewhere I can call home. Home has always been an emotionally turbulent search for me. As a young woman, I faded into the background of my own family’s system. Leaving Iran to immigrate to Europe and then the United States freed me of this, but I found myself struggling to connect emotionally with my new surroundings. I was rooted up, rootless and all other jokes one might be able to make on the subject. I yearned to center myself, but I felt like an outsider floating around with memories that contrast from my immediate surroundings.
This body of work represents these inescapable questions of existence. It merges these questions with the ethereal and stereotyped feminine body side-by-side with a dense nutritional source whose vitality is encased in a gnarled and rough exterior form: the root vegetable. Strapped to their backs the roots are a burden. Held in their mouth, the root greens are bitter and awkward. Placed on a foot or sliced on a back the roots are just out of reach. Roots can symbolize desire and draw attention to or even protect private interior and sexual spaces.
These women are comfortable in their own skin inside a broken down house. On one hand, I am in solidarity with these women from the perspective of shared gender but on the other their experience is as foreign to me as I am to them. The root vegetables symbolize a promise to grow my roots, reroot the self, and grow new as I keep searching for home.