Melika Shafahi | "Tulip": Dastan's Basement

5 - 26 January 2024 The Basement
A Solo Exhibition of Works by Melika Shafahi atDastan's Basement.
Installation Views
Press release

Dastan's Basement announces “Tulip,” a solo exhibition of works by Melika Shafahi opening on January 5 and continuing through January 26, 2024. The artist sees "Tulip" as part of a larger exhibition with the participation of other artists under the umbrella of "Gladiolus". Dastan represented her work at Art Dubai 2023. Her work was also part of Zaal Art Gallery's “Soft Edge of the Blade Vol.2” (Toronto, 2023). "Tulip" is her first solo exhibition with Dastan Gallery. Melika Shafahi (b.1984, Tehran) works and lives between Tehran & and Paris. She received her BA in Photography (Tehran University of Art, 2007), another in Fine Arts and Plastic (École Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Montpellier, 2010), and an MA in Fine Arts (École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Lyon, 2012). She works with photography, video & and installation.

Works of Melika Shafahi are influenced by social themes that she brings to view through bold and unique aesthetics of hybridity. Her current collection, "Tulip" (2023), revisits a childhood experience of beholding a gladiolus flower on coffins of Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988) martyrs paraded on TV. Gladioli also appeared on the table in front of television anchors in many programs, in celebrations or mournings. The experience of dyeing flowers in her high school laboratory in Iran was also awakened. In this series, Shafahi explores the role of Gladiolus in a collective memory. The symbolic significance of gladiolus ("the sword", strength, power, and resistance) evolved following the war, becoming the preferred flower of state officials and in this way lost its import with the public the artist associated with.  The practice of gilding paper flowers with pearls, coloring them, and placing their photographic images next to each other acquired a meditative quality. Living with gladioli, planting them in the garden, nurturing them, nipping them for photography, and watching them wilt became the magical part of this collection. Contrary to her previous collections, which were initiated outside her studio, "Tulip" took shape during the withdrawn years of the pandemic. The artist's living and working space entwined. Using a variety of media (marker on printed drawing, mixed media, digital photography) her flowers reflect changing characteristics.