Sorry My Back is Facing You
(2016 - 17)
This work is a literal and visual translation of the Persian custom ببخشید پشتم به شماست (bebakhshid poshtam be shomast). Within Iranian culture, if you sit with your back facing someone, you would need to apologize to that person. The response to the apology would be گل پشت و رو نداره (gol posht o roo nadare) translated as “a flower has neither a back or front side.”
In order to convey this custom, I made a kilim approximately the same height as me, and hung it low from the ceiling – positioning it to create an intimate relationship between the work and the viewer. When you approach the work, you are first confronted by its back side. Instead of a pristine surface you see the knots, hanging threads and some loose ends - basically the things you aren’t supposed to see, that are hidden from you when you see a kilim, as you would never lay it on its front. The work is installed approximately 3 ft. away from the wall, creating a psychological space that the viewer must move into to engage with the work and to view its front side. This way, the viewer becomes a part of the conversation: the work is apologizing to the viewer for having its back to them. Yet it continues to face away, synonymous with a real-life situation where you apologize showing your acknowledgement that your back is facing someone, yet continue to face away from them—to have your back facing them.
The window screen which I used as the background surface for the kilim, is used in an unconventional manner to represent the filter between the inside and the outside. The embroidery floss weaved into this filter adds another layer of meaning in depicting the front and back sides. The pattern that is repeated resembles that of a flower to correlate with the response to the primal apology.