Deconstructing the Rug

In this body of work, I take a commonplace domestic object, the kilim, and physically and symbolically deconstruct it as a means into examining my own cultural identity, that of a second-generation Iranian-Canadian. The action of deconstruction metaphorically allows me to inspect and reimagine aspects of a culture that I have only experienced in hyphenated ways.

Structurally, the kilim has a central motif (‘Medallion’), surrounded by other geometric motifs and framed by a border. Repetition of shape and colour are also characteristics in the formal layout of the rug. My process involves physically separating out these formal elements and recombining and reassembling them. In my reconfigurations, the sculptures become hybrids: a mixture of Western and Eastern forms, shapes and systems­­.

What is common throughout this series is the base materials used in the sculptures. For the ground, I use the common window screen, the barrier that separates inside and outside. I embroider my motifs onto this ground. Following the colour, the design, the number of repeats and size of each motif in the kilim is an important part of my process where tradition is valued but not necessarily interpreted by me in the way it is was traditionally meant to be. Despite the alterations, the sculpture remains a kilim. The elements that symbolize language, lifestyle characteristics, patterns of interpersonal behaviour, etc., which define a culture at large, still remain visible and tangible.

Aside from transforming the object through the processes of deconstruction, I also shift how it is read by repositioning it spatially. A rug that traditionally occupies a floor, a two-dimensional surface, is transformed into a roll. Hands-on-hips is a series of small enclosed cubes with embroidered motifs.