Maryam Tavakoli

Like a Circle in Spiral

November 4 – 20, 2022

Like a Circle in Spiral is an attempt to re-interpret the Identity-Memory relationship. As in, the identity that cannot be reachable without being lost in memories, and the memories that cannot be remembered—or even stored—without reflecting on the identity of the person carrying them.

The experience of Like a Circle in Spiral starts with visual engagement within the twists and turns of charcoal marks left on blank white pieces of paper. Tavakoli uses collage as a starting point for creating detailed and impactful charcoal drawings that incorporate family photographs, found images of war and conflict, and moments of human connection and remembrance. The artist intends to leave the audience lost in the masterful touch of the artist in this condensed collection of moments that resembles
fragments of identity.

The curious audience is now beckoned to an immersive viewing experience that sets them up to a provocation of personal emotions and memories in a dynamic place. Here, Tavakoli experiments with multiplying and layering sheer fabric drapes within the exhibition space so that the subtle movement, transparency, and interaction of images offers new narrative possibilities. Tavakoli cuts and mends images from her own memory, embracing the distortion that memory takes in its relationship to the remembered. Given the complex overlapping nature of the two concepts, Like a Circle in Spiral reflects upon the fact that memory and identity cannot be defined separately and highlights the fluidity and dynamicity of memory.

Tavakoli uses technical strategies to deconstruct her compositions, and then displace and distort reality as we know it, to articulate two things:

  • First, the fact that memory and identity cannot be defined separately given the complex overlapping nature of the two concepts.
  • Secondly, while memories are often thought of as flashbacks to previous experiences, they do not simply preserve a pure representation of the past but are continuously distorted by the elapsing of time, momentary emotions, imperfect recollection, and so on—there can’t be two exact same evocations of images, emotions, and senses in same memory.

Artist Statement
Think of a child once rescued from drowning, still scared of water as an adult. Think of am experience that traumatizes someone, now struggling to view the world the same as before. Now think of the white paper void of character—as Locke puts it, the tabula rasa—that resembles one’s mind as it starts blank and all the pieces of reason and knowledge, then the perception of a “self”, one’s identity, are derived from experience. Then imagine a gateway, the medium that ties one’s life experiences to the blank slate: Memory! Memory that not just captures, but ties oneself, one’s identity, to one’s memories; lived, living and yet to live.

About the Artist

Maryam Tavakoli is a multidisciplinary artist based in Victoria, B.C. Her practice questions the relationship between Identity, memory, and time. In her current works, she makes use of a variety of materials that can embody the vague distorted reflections of memory on identity through a combination of drawing, installation, and sculpture. She seeks to explore the concept of Identity through memories of life experiences, personal traumas, and the social/cultural structure of her home country.

You can find more information about the artist at the following links:

Portfolio: Maryam Tavakoli

Instagram: maryamtvk

Xchanges gratefully acknowledges the support of the Province of British Columbia and the Capital Regional District for our gallery programs.

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