Learning to paint miniatures was as familiar as it was foreign. I remember the first time felt like the most honest way I’d ever painted, something so far from my previous academic training in oil paint on canvas. It was coming home and finally understanding that it’s infinitely wiser to paint tulips as the Persians did than the Dutch who imported and sold them as their own.
Just as it is like coming home, I recognise that my home is also a world apart from the historic miniatures I pine over. The work, rather than resembling them, resembles me - it’s not separate from my experience as a child who moved through Asia, Africa, and Europe alike or from my understanding of our global surroundings. As impossible as it is to ignore my own history, it is also impossible to ignore globalisation, the environment, the politics that shape our lives. Also not excluded are the things that sit close and ultimately form my chosen identity - botany, objects, edible produce, relationships.
My identity and ethos have become a presentable item.
This goes beyond imagery and into my means of making. Working on traditional hand-made papers from India and Iran, rejecting mass-produced materials in favour of traditional ones that are often also more sustainable. I only use pigments that come from earth, minerals, or plants, often hand-made by myself. All of these materials could exist as extraordinary objects without my interference - bringing with them immense humility.
Even though the work is rooted in who and how I am, the history and materials that shape it are ultimately spectacular with or without me.