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Opening on 17th May 2024
On view until 7th June 2024

Gilgamesh, one of the oldest stories in the world, is an epic born in the land where I was born, which is close to where I live now. Gilgamesh is a story of life and death, rejecting death and eventually surrendering to it, somewhere between denial and acceptance. Gilgamesh’s narrative is a path to reach immortality, the process of searching and finding the “plant of immortality”. More than all the characters and events of the epic, my attention was drawn to this plant. Holding on to hope and searching for it was similar to our lives and times. Visualizing this plant takes me to imaginary gardens, at a time when taking refuge in color and flowers was the only way to persevere. To find this plant, a path had been taken, it had been found and lost, and to find it, you had to really listen to the story of the great storm. The great storm reminded me of the survivors of all similar storms that always come to and realization that we are among the survivors.
For my adaptation of this multi-layered story, besides paintings I chose other materials. Gilgamesh’s dress is my father’s old Disdasheh. With my stitches and textures, crocheting and different tapestry techniques, and the broken old dolls that was a relic of the time I was working with the children of labor, the Rhytons and small sculptures appeared. I used the sewing techniques of my teenage years to make a large fabric piece. I made the plant, and to complete it I used the parts I have been making for years. The braided and woven pieces are made of old clothes and pieces sewn by my Mother and aunt, the old threads of rosaries that my Father brought home from the Husseinyeh as well as the dried branches that I had collected during the pandemic and had woven my threads around them, and the burnt lamps that are painted, they are all part of it.
This is the story of Resilience and Perseverance of me and millions of others in this region. We fall and then rise. We make new stories from ruins and remnants and live with our heads held up. There is No End to us.

Shirin Mellat Gohar
Spring of 2024

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