In Conversation: Parvin Peivandi
Parvin Peivandi’s “Returning Tenderly Triumphant” consists of a suite of sculptures that combine seemingly opposed materials, fusing worn found textiles with sharp metal sheeting and brightly pigmented beeswax. The ambitious exhibition has showcased Peivandi’s personal investment in her practice, with each work representing a measurable triumph.
Read on to learn more about Peivandi’s processes, motivations and aspirations.
The exhibition text mentions that the metal components in your works are directly shaped and folded by your own hands. Is this direct connection to the metal important to you? Can you tell us more about this process?PP
All my works have a performative aspect. I love to perform/reenact with materials while making my art. By shaping the materials with the forces of my body, I understand the material better and can reflect on the power relations and dynamics that play out on the body. Folding, bending and welding steel is the work of labour that reminds me of my real life experiences as an Iranian immigrant woman. I seek a sincere narration in my art, when my body and the body of my materials become one to construct a feeling. When a weak or sturdy material folds and gains strength, I consider it as a triumphant moment.
The worn tribal rugs you incorporate into your works vary greatly in imagery and style. How do you source them? Can you tell us anything about their various depictions and motifs?PP
The worn out tribal rugs are the leftovers of the tribal rugs that I have gathered from Kurdish women or nomads in the villages of Iran. These worn out, torn tribal rugs and scraps do not have a high value in Iran—some of these pieces were dismantled for threads to fix other rugs. I was looking at these left out textiles as the abstract bodies of individuals. I wanted to save the life of these bodies by bringing them to Canada and by making art with them. I wanted to raise their status from a left out and under feet object to a work of high art for the wall or floor space of a gallery. I wanted them to be seen and be heard. As a saver, I was not looking for any specific style or motif, but the minimalist designs of some of these rugs remind me of the minimalist art in the Western canon. These simple designs were woven spontaneously by the imaginations and skillful hands of unknown women weavers in a far off villages in Iran. The motifs and depictions on any rugs are drawings from the mind of an unknown woman that I try to reimagine and reconstruct in a new way.
Your works are personal and articulate your efforts to overcome the challenges of immigration and displacement. How has your art practice helped you to feel more grounded in unfamiliar places? Do you hope for your works to also provide a comforting space for members of your cultural community?PP
Each of my works is an abstract body of me or another individual living life with its up and downs. I have put my life experiences, memories and feelings into each work and hope I can connect to audiences by sharing feelings that we all have in common— moments of pain, suffering, desire and love. I gain strength by making art, by reflecting on the struggles of my journey and the triumphant moments in intervals. My dream is to bring people together with my art. I feel my world is bigger now and I belong to everywhere that I live or travel. I do not seek connection to one particular race or culture as I am experiencing so much liberation and joy in connecting to my audiences—in the process of becoming something that never stops and is constantly evolving.
Do you feel drawn to travel and explore new places as you make art moving forward? Or do you feel you can explore this notion of cultural fluidity while living in one place?PP
Both. After years of travelling and living between cultures, I feel that I want to stay in one place and concentrate on my art in my studio. I need to reflect more on my process and journey. I also like to travel a few times a year to exhibit and to learn new knowledge—as a way of expanding my vision and my art.
Where can viewers see more of your practice? Any exciting upcoming projects you’d like to share about?PP
I dream of exhibiting my art in the big museums such as MoMA, The Guggenheim and Tate. I know it will happen one day, so I manifest it and continue to put effort into my professional practice. I have three solo shows in the United States and Canada in the upcoming year and will also show my ceramics as part of the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts in 2022. I am making art constantly and am always posting images to my instagram and facebook accounts, and my website.
Are there any unfinished projects or goals that you’d like to accomplish?PP
I dream of helping the individuals trapped by global forces, either financially or with my art. I’d like to help minority groups, undereducated, segregated and deprived people, refugees, asylum seekers and those who are left out or overlooked in the distribution of resources. I also work in art education and trust that the new generation of cultural leaders will solve some of the problems in our world. I keep faith in the creative forces and our actions together that will bring more light and equality for all.
Parvin Peivandi’s “Returning Tenderly Triumphant” was exhibited at BAF from September 9 to October 23.