Sitting with the Water

 

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The Water element is our life force. Water is linked to our emotions, the process of birth, of cleansing and the feminine way of being- in flow with nature and the cycles of life.  The ripples of cause and effect expressed through the drop returning to the whole and our own passage through the waters of the womb.

This contemplation on the water element has taken me into the realm of the Ancient Persian Goddess Anahita for inspiration and visual motifs for my next series of works for the North Sydney Council’s ‘Red Project’ which will launch in March 2018.

Anahita was a goddess associated with water, fertility, wisdom, warfare, and eventually the planet Venus.  Her full title being Aredvi Sura Anahita which means moist, mighty and immaculate (pure); she is a Goddess of sovereignty and patron of women.

There are many stories around what it means to be a fully empowered woman. Some more resonating than others, however, my intention in journeying into the realm of the goddess of the waters was to know how to strengthen the connection between my higher self and the feminine power center.  The message that came through was about the importance to re-claiming the power of the womb. Dropping into that space of creation and the cosmic life force energy stored there. The symbol that emerged was of the sacred feminine channel from the womb to the crown. Two balls of illuminated light swirling like a whirl pool forming extensions between earth and sky.

So far these are works in progress, the beginning of something yet to be fully formed. Like the water I will flow with inspiration and see where the work goes!

Mythologies of the Discarded

My latest curatorial project is about to launch! Mythologies of the Discarded opens on Saturday 28th October at Peacock Gallery, Auburn.

The exhibition presents the work of international and local artists Maria Grazia Tata, Jody Graham, Sepideh Farzam, Jan Cleveringa and Bahman Kermany whose installations are deeply rooted in mythology, our relationship with nature, sustainability and transformation.

Each artist has re-defined their materials and created items of beauty, sacredness and power. The creative process of collecting discarded objects vividly highlights the journey through ancient, primal and visceral spaces, imploring the viewer into a deeper contemplation with nature and technological progress.

 

I look forward to sharing this exhibition with you next week.

time to shine

 

Riding on the immense energies of the 10/10 vibration I am taking this leap of faith to finally come out of my spiritual closet. I am no longer playing small, I step wholeheartedly into my calling, I emerge through the shadows of fear and self-doubt fully in my power; an awakened wild woman. I walk my talk and embrace everything that I am- Mother, Artist, Writer, Seeker, Healer, Psychic, Goddess, Sage of the earth, pure light of unconditional love. I am here, here I am. And so it is.

My heart is overflowing with excitement as I type these words. I have spent my whole life meandering between the calling of spirit and my own self imposed limitations. Dimming my light and placing an invisible barrier of how high I could fly around myself. Trying desperately to fit into one category or another and being too obsessed with the outcome of my endeavours- fighting against the flow- needing to control everything and having it all worked out before taking the leap.

I have been reflecting on the moments when I dimmed my light and succumbed to fear and doubt; remaining anonymous and extinguishing the fire of my calling.  As I went through the filing cabinet of my life experience the common self-talk in all of those unrealised dreams was:  “I’m not ready”, “I don’t know enough”, “I haven’t got the life experience”, followed closely by: I need this certificate or that bit of training. I need a better place to live, I need a workshop, a retreat, a mentor, a healing session, a past life regression……whilst the universe answered all of these requests, and I am deeply enriched by these experiences, today I woke up and just knew that all I need to do is step out of the matrix of the so called “real world” and realise that I already have everything I need, I’ve always had it. There is nothing else to do except show up and shine.

The moments when I did show up and allow myself to shine, such amazing things happened. Fully embracing the artist within for example and sharing with the world my work through exhibitions, festivals, speaking engagements and conferences has filled me with incredible joy and passion. Yet there is a niggling feeling in my womb, there is more for me to do, there is more for me to be…it is time for a massive birthing, a shift into the fullness of my calling…so here I am…pressing myself against the edges of the cave walls and pushing through the darkness once again as my healing and intuitive work is revealing itself to me.

Right now, in this very moment, I have made a decision. I am flowing like the river, abandoning the old way of being and just surrendering to the messages that are coming through, without attachment, without control. Two days ago I was drawn to re-visit one of my art journals from High School and I found one entry on spirituality I wrote: “the earth is my religion and my body is the temple of worship”. I must have been 16 years old. I knew 22 years ago where my calling was. I am ready now to live it.

The next 3 months are the final stages of my incubation and then the most incredible offerings are on their way to be shared. I will be holding space for the creative center to ignite and mirror the splendor of our inner connection with nature, with each other and transmit the most powerful force in the universe, unconditional LOVE.

I dedicate this post to my Munay Family, my sisters and brother who inspire me to shine.  

Language of Nature

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Everything in nature has a language. In order to learn that language we need to sit with each element and watch it through our hearts.

I learnt this wisdom as I walked the beautiful terrain of the Sacred Valley, Peru in a powerful and transformative  pilgrimage to Apu Salkantay and Machu Picchu  with Valerio Sasari of Runa Ñan, Peru Healing Travel.

There is something truly magical about Peru. The mountains come to life and literally speak to you. There are so many faces and animal shapes that undulate the surface of the rock. There is a stillness and reverence for being that draws you into an ancient call of the wild, yet paradoxically keeps you firmly grounded in the present.

I felt very ‘held’ and safe in Peru. The trek was challenging, don’t get me wrong. I was not physically prepared for the altitude or the steep inclines and uneven surfaces! At times my faith was tested, especially those moments when every step was mindfully crafted as I traversed a ravine and tiptoed across what looked like the precipice of death – literally walking on the edge of the mountain, no harness, narrow path, huge backpack and nothing but sharp rocks below and evidence of landslides above…Yet I felt more alive and more connected than ever in my life. There was a language being spoken and in the stillness I could feel the messages being transmited.

What fascinated me most was the microcosmic worlds I saw throughout the pilgrimage. The tiny cacti growing out of the cracks in the rocks, the yellow sun flowers forming a type of yellow brick road, the moss and algae forming crystalline shapes on the rocks- oh and the river stones, so majestic in the sunlight. I spent a lot of time with the rocks building towers that represented the body in Andean tradition, and giving thanks to the glory of mother nature.

Spending time with the rocks taught me so much about how the notion of ‘impossibility’ is merely a projection of the mind. The process reminded me of Andy Goldsworthy’s earth art installations and became a way of entering each place to show gratitude and ask for healing.

The rocks spoke of strength and courage. They spoke of balance and a willingness to be flexible. Their language was that of power and persistence and the importance of humility. The most beautiful stones were those that had been softened by the elements, sun and water, the most exquisite shapes were those that had been rubbed against the other in a dance choreographed by the ebb and flow of the rivers.

There were so many times that the smallest of rocks collapsed the tower I was building and other times where a large rock at the top would hold it all together. These were life lessons – transmissions of Ancient knowledge!  How often do we sweat the small stuff only to see our world crashing down? How often do we hide away diminishing our greatness from seemingly impossible ‘big stones’ only to discover they are the very thing that holds the roof up?

I am so grateful for my immersion in the Sacred Valley and the time spent with Valerio and my brother who journeyed with me. I am so blessed. I live a privileged life, waking up to the most extraordinary palette of colours as the sun rises through my bedroom window in the Hawkesbury Valley, Sydney. There is so much beauty, wisdom and the most Ancient of knowledge in this amazing country we call Australia. I have been watching spring unfold through the lens of my heart these past few weeks and all I can say is wow! I will be spending more time with the rocks of Colo River and the Hawkesbury River, calling in inspiration for my next series of works to unfold.

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Rocks from the Sacred Valley, Peru

Life Path- 38/11

As my latest exhibition comes to an end I have been reflecting quite deeply on the work I have created for Turquoise Paradox and considering the next series of works to come. In these quite small scale, intimate works I have woven the story of my life with that of my partner’s. The journey we have been on both individually and the intersections of life where we walk together is the basis of these works.

Using the colour turquoise has had quite a calming and healing effect on me. Coming out of the heaviness of the last series of works and looking more closely at the stories around love, connection, communication, journeys of the heart and more explicitly this notion of  my “life path” de-coded through numerology has inspired me to delve even deeper into the next direction I want to take both in terms of my teaching career and my art practice.

What do I mean about ‘ life path number’? In my research about the re-occurring numbers in my life and subsequently about numerology I came across Dan Millman’s book ” The Life You Were Born to Live” which uses the calculation of your birth date to come up with your life purpose or life path number. Each digit has a particular meaning- much of the interpretation comes from the Pythagorean principles which I find fascinating!  So adding my birth date together gives me the number 38 which is then added together to give 11. The 38/11 combination is apparently one of the rarest that can be found and the number 11 is considered to be a ‘master number’, which cannot be broken down any further and represents spirituality and denotes an ‘old soul energy’.

The meaning of the individual numbers according to Millman are: 3 represents EXPRESSION / 8 represents INFLUENCE / 1 represents  CREATIVITY.  So interesting that I am an educator (expression / influence) and an artist (creativity). I must be on the right path!

It really is a fascinating analysis, here is a paraphrased excerpt from the book: ” Those on the 38/11 life path are here to combine creativity and material success, learning to apply their power and express their energy with compassion and generosity…their life work, in whatever form it takes, involves…directing their considerable power and energy to creative contributions that uplift and empower those around them, helping others to find their own source of energy and inspiration”

Wow! I really feel that the work I am doing aligns with this description.

Currently I am opening myself up to total trust and allowing myself to create what is in my heart rather than in my head and the results are outstanding. It is an absolute honour to walk this path and inspire others to follow their hearts also.

If you are curious about your own life path number check out Dan Millman’s website and try out the life purpose calculator.

The artworks pictured above are also for sale. The are made with watercolour, collage, pen and ink on board. I have displayed them as a diptych, but they are sold separately. Each piece is 26cm x 20cm. If you are interested in purchasing them or seeing similar works please contact me.

New Exhibition

My next project is the IWVAC-Australia group show Turquoise Paradox. There will be a wide range of works on exhibit from current member artists and I have a few small works of my own in it also.

Exhibition dates: 5th – 27th April, Me Art Space, 25 Atchison St, St Leonards

Official launch: Saturday 8th April, 4pm – 6pm

Hope to see you there!

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Creative Flow

13412044_1016039568451395_6501584064015750165_oI’ve been thinking a lot about my ‘muse’ this month, especially as I find myself struggling to get through the new series of works. A question I keep asking myself is ‘how do I maintain my creative flow?’

Creative flow and inspiration is often linked to the two great waves of the ” Feast” and “Famine” cycle of the art world. Maintaining energy levels in the feast cycle is one challenge, yet maintaining the flow during the famine cycle can be a majorly overwhelming experience.

In the feast cycle, which for me was last year with one project or launch or exhibition happening literally every month until I crossed the finish line into 2017. Inspiration seemed to flow seamlessly. It was almost like the less time I had the more productive I became. There was no time to procrastinate, no time for anything other than churning out new work in the studio. I was completely focused, completely driven. Is that kind of work sustainable? Well the short answer is no! Burnout is a well documented topic for creatives- even more so for creatives with little humans to look after!

For me, I can’t say that I’m burnt out but I have certainly switched gears. Whilst I wouldn’t call this a famine cycle as there is still plenty of work to do and I have set myself up with two major projects that book mark the first and second half of this year: the IWVAC-Australia Group Exhibition “Turquoise Paradox” in April  and a residency at Peacock Gallery from June – September followed by an exhibition in October ” Mythologies of the Discarded”, I do feel a bit flat…a bit out of flow…now that I have consciously slowed down it’s hard to get motivated!

I had the privilege of meeting and working with one of my artistic heroes last year, Hossein Valamanesh at the Iranica Conference at the Art Gallery of NSW. After his presentation of his oeuvre I asked him “what’s next?”.  He told me that he was out of ideas at that moment in time, and didn’t really know what’s next. He was in a famine cycle creatively speaking. He mentioned that he found a huge branch on the road in front of his house and dragged it into the studio to look at it and that was ” the next thing”.

Being out of flow was not a scary place to be for Valamanesh. He described it as his “resting time” where he collects things and is present in the flow of not being in flow…until inspiration strikes and then all that time spent resting would sustain him, as he may not surface from the studio for months riding the wave of his muse.

That was such a beautiful way of looking at it. Often artist freak-out when inspiration runs dry. I certainly do. So instead of a huge branch in my studio I will spend time drawing in my art journal and watching inspirational films, being in nature or just letting go of having to have an ‘idea’. I must say, accepting that this is my all important ‘resting time’ feels less scary as I take on board the wisdom of just trusting in the process and riding out the famine cycle.

 

 

Farewell Blacktown Studios

Here we are 2017!

I have completed my studio residency with the Blacktown Arts Centre and now starting new work for my next group exhibition with IWVAC-Australia called Turquoise Paradox opening in April.

But before I get going on the new project I want to reflect a moment on the work developed in the Blacktown Studios. I have immensely enjoyed the experience of just creating for the sake of creating, exploring processes and the luxury of not having a finished product at the end; rather a series of beginnings to keep me going for another year or two possibility even three.

Being in residence at the studios was mainly about exploring my creativity and connecting to the space and my practice. I found myself returning to drawing and collage, it has been lovely to play with ink and charcoal and remembering how much I loved tearing paper!

I have filled the space with a huge collection of works and objects that have inspired me and I would love to share that space with you all before it’s time to pack up and move out!

I am opening the studio up to the public to see what I have created during my time there.

Please join me next Friday 20th January 6-9pm at 121 Main St, Blacktown.

The works will also be for sale (studio prices – no commissions added)

 

 

calling myself – ARTIST

Nazanin_photoStepping fully into my artistic path has been quite a journey these past few years. Since starting full-time teaching in 2007 followed closely with major life events of marriage and children, my art practice felt like it was a thing of the past. I had no proper studio set up and whilst I always kept art journals even that came to an end.

The turning point…
In 2014 we moved out of our apartment in Dulwich Hill and into a beautiful home in the Hawkesbury. As I was packing away my art things I realised that despite thinking I had nothing to show for myself for the past 7 years I discovered that I had in fact produced a sizable collection of works, in-between marriage, teaching and babies! So I decided to have my first solo exhibition before we left the trendy Inner West. In August, despite the mayhem of moving, I put together a survey show of the major bodies of work I had created since University called Reflections at the StirrUp Gallery, Marrickville. I remember sitting in the gallery surrounded by my artworks; by the output of my inner workings; by the stories that have shaped all the work I have done; by the beautiful way that the artworks I created related so specifically to times and places in my life and I knew then that I needed to bring art back into the foreground of my life. Maintaining my practice needed to be on top of the ‘to do list’.

I recall in this transitional period of ‘sorting myself out’ as an artist I still struggled to tell people that I am an ‘artist’, like many artists I know there is a reluctance to take on board the title. However, meeting Monica Davidson from Creative + Business was the catalyst for a real shift in self-belief and creating my identity as an artist. She was also my business mentor for a while and my time with her really helped to form a solid foundation for the work I wanted to step into. I love how the universe answers your call!

In 2015 I made a conscience decision to take a sabbatical year off teaching and focus my attention on balancing my art making with motherhood. And what a year it was! I was a finalist in the Blacktown Arts Prize and the Hawkesbury Art Prize. I was also a member of the Macquarie Towns Art Society and participated in many exhibitions with them. I had several other group exhibitions, one in Rome and quite a few around Sydney (see my CV for details), I established the Iranian Women Visual Artists Collective- Australia  (IWVAC-Australia) and launched the collective with an exhibition at 107 Projects called In Transit. We had a shared studio in Cre8tiv Studios, St Leonards where we worked and had regular meetings. We were involved in the Crows Nest Festival, ran open studio days and workshops. Doing all of this with two toddlers in tow! I set up a ‘kids corner’ in the studio and we all got creating together.

2016 has been insane! I went back to teaching part time and artistically speaking the year started with a joint exhibition with a dear friend Negin Chahoud, Spirit Sisters, followed by the Iranian Art & Craft Exhibition | Norouz Celebration in March which was a sold out event and attracted over 1000 people of the 4 days. It was such a huge project that I curated as part of Art Month Sydney and it was picked up by SBS World News!. Then the second IWVAC-Australia group exhibition Fragmented. I was awarded a 6-month residency with Blacktown Arts Centre which started in June and in-between I helped start a new collective called Blacktown Studio Artists Collective and we launched with an exhibition called Blank Slate at the Blacktown Tourist Information and Heritage Centre. I was in the Women’s Art Prize, and the Other Art Fair. To finish off the year, if that was not enough, I had the opportunity to work closely with one of my favourite artists, Hossein Valamanesh for the Iranica Australasia Conference: Mirrors of Iran: Reflections in a Transnational Context, at the Art Gallery NSW- another sold out event! Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better than this, the Minster for the Arts, Hon. Troy Grant visits my Blacktown Studio as part of the launch for the Western Sydney Arts Funding scheme for the next 2 years!

Fully accepting myself as an artist and creating space in my life to keep my artistic practice alive and my work with various collectives and organisations, panels, conferences and re-connecting with past mentors such as Jan Fieldsend, Nick Vickers and John Cheesman, and the support of Monir Rowshan from Balcktown Council and the Art Centre staff has really set me on a path I could have never imagined.  And now I have the privilege of a structured mentorship with Debbie Mackinnon, Director of Me Artspace for 2017!

What’s next….. a little bit of resting time with the family and then I welcome 2017 with open arms, open heart and limitless energy to create, and to connect with an even wider audience. Stay tuned!

art is my talking stick and my healing wand