Sculpture, Performance and Installation by Omid Shams and Parissa Jamali in Godsnbanen Gallery, Denmark
The Tree of Locks of Hair, the sculpture made by Omid Shams and Parissa Jamali, was revealed at Godsbanen Gallery in city of Aarhus, Denmark. The opening ceremony was along with a performance performed by Omid Shams and Parissa Jamali and a short speech by art critic Trine Rytter Andersen. (You can see the pictures of the opening ceremony at the end of this post). You can also find a link to Deutsche Welle’s interview with Omid Shams about the exhibition in here. The interview is in Farsi.
Here is the statement of the exhibition:
The idea of Tree of Locks of Hair came up to my mind from a simple conversation with one of my friends back in Iran. I told her that I am leaving to Denmark and I asked her “what would be the first thing you’d like do if you leave Iran?” She answered: “I would like to feel the wind blowing in my hair without being afraid”. So I took a lock of her hair and of thirty other women as well and I decided to make a Tree of Locks of Hair.
The sacred trees have a long history in Persian culture and they are all illuminated by various feminine elements. These trees represent the women’s wishes, grieves and dreams. A long time ago women in western and central parts of Iran used to cut their tresses and hang them as a sign of grieve for loss of their loved ones. This ceremony has been recorded in Iranian literary masterpieces such as Shahnameh (The Book of Kings) and Savushun.
In her great novel, Savushun, Simin Daneshvar writes:
” Zari said: The first time I saw the tree of tress I thought it was the tree of wishes illuminated by yellow, brown and black rags. When I came closer I saw they are woven hairs on the branches. They were the tresses of young women who lost their men.”
In Iranian culture, hair is a symbol of “being”, “spirit” and “life”. The tree also is the symbol of “life”, “resistance”, “growth” and “incarnation”. In central Iran, women used to hang their tresses on the tree and believed that as the tree grows and the blooms flourish, the one they lost will be brought back.
For me, the tree of locks of hair represents our women’s struggle for their own being, spirit and life which have been taken away from them. The tresses grieve for the loss of Iranian women’s freedom and the tree stands for their resistance and their strong hope for the future of their struggle.
The performance was a protest against hiding and eliminating the women’s individual and real identity in both capitalistic and religious societies. A woman sitting passively on a chair was gradually covered with a black fabric and the fabric itself was covered by the pictures of supermodels,female TV stars, advertising pictures of women and ideological pictures of women. Here is the statement for the performance:
What is the meaning of being a woman? Why are we so obsessed with defining femininity, while it seems there is no need to define masculinity? Ideologies, economies, politics, cultures, and religions, they are all trying to confiscate the women’s body and turn it into a battleground, an advertisement spot, a political banner, an artistic statue, and a cultural or religious shrine. There is unique being that lies underneath of all these labels. Who is she? Which one of these images is her real, her own image?