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Bahar Behbahani artist headshot photo by Laura Fuchs

Image Credits: Right, Portrait of Artist by Laura Fuchs.

Bahar Behbahani

Knead Me A Moon 

Bahar Behbahani was invited by Edge on the Square to work with local Chinatown bakers during a residency in San Francisco. Over a period of many visits, Behbahani collaborated with and learned about the bakers’ personal narratives and experiences with immigration, resilience and sustenance accessed through the symbolic power of bread. Together, with her own diasporic experience, she explored the ancient histories of wheat migration, the cross-cultural symbolism, and the continuous interconnection in our contemporary era.

Furthermore, Behbahani drew a parallel between Chinese and Persian ancestral cultures and celestial references by examining the rituals, metaphors and ceremonies around the sacred octagon shape, moon cakes, and gift-giving. With each subsequent fold, weave, and layer, the bakers and protagonists from Iran metaphorically knead into dough their individual stories and collective histories, and offer up well wishes and nourishment to the community.  Through somatic remembering via smell, sight, and taste, the octagon as a hosting space, invites the community to gather and construct by way of bread a sense of place we can call home. 

藝術家Bahar Behbahani在三藩市短暫居住期間,藝在棱角誠意邀請她加盟,與華埠本地的麵包師合作,共同打造藝術品。多次到訪華埠後,Behbahani與麵包師合作的過程中,認識到每個麵包師背後的個人故事及移民來美的經驗。透過整麵包的力量,從而體現他們為了生計而養成的堅韌。Behbahani經歷過離鄉別井,在這種經驗下,她探索引入小麥的古代歷史,當中涉及的跨文化象徵意義,以及與當代的持續連結。



About Bahar Behbahani 

Bahar Behbahani is a painter, collaborator, educator, and a hospitable instigator. Behbahani’s interdisciplinary work explores the complexities of memory, erasure, adaptation, and a fundamental search for a sense of place. Her central, multi-tiered subject for the past decade has been the Persian garden, one that she has re-tooled to her personal and shared history, illuminating the parallels and dynamics at work between historiography and present sociopolitical circumstances.

In 2020, she challenged her largest public art project to date, taking it to Pakistan. She worked closely with the Lahore Irrigation Department to create a permanent artwork for the city that ties the regional history and local community to the transboundary Ravi River. In 2019 Behbahani was granted a Creative Capital Award for her proposed project for a public Persian garden in New York City, 2020 Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant, and the Drawing Center Fellowship in 2019, among others.

Behbahani’s recent work is featured as part of the Sharjah Biennial 15 (2023), conceived by late Okwui Enwezor, and curated by Hoor Al Qasimi; Garden of Desire, a sculptural installation, reflecting on the Persian garden as a paradoxical site of beauty and hospitality on the one hand and its auxiliary purpose for diplomatic and imperialistic negotiations on the other.

Bahar Behbahani 是一名畫家、協作者、教育家兼熱情好客的好事者。其跨界作品探討記憶、消音、適應的複雜性,以及對地域認同感的探求。在過去十年裡,她的創作聚焦「波斯花園」這多層次的主題,並根據個人及集體歷史重新設計,闡明史學與當前社會政治環境之間的相似之處,與及兩者互為影響的關係。



Behbahani屢獲殊榮,不僅以其紐約市公共「波斯花園」提案獲頒 2019年 創意資本贊助獎 (Creative Capital Award),更在2020年獲得瓊.米切爾基金會畫家與雕塑家獎助金 (Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant),以及2019年繪畫中心獎學金 (Drawing Center Fellowship) 等。

Behbahani 的最新作品入選2023年第十五屆沙迦雙年展,計劃構思出自已故的知名策展人奧奎.恩維佐  (Okwui Enwezor) ,由霍爾.阿爾.卡西米 (Hoor Al Qasimi) 策展。她的新作《慾望花園》(Garden of Desire) 是一件雕塑裝置,反映出波斯花園的矛盾:一方面是個美侖美奐的好客之地,另一方面卻又是個輔助外交和帝國主義擴張的談判之所。

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