A week prior to hearing about the submission call, I wrote a letter to my late grandfather a poet, calligrapher, head master and carpet dealer. I manifested his artistic inspiration and spiritual vision into my life. As with my magical approach, I immediately locked my manifestation out of my head and soon forgot about it.
After learning about the theme of this issue I decided to bring a magical text to a physical and interactive art piece that you could hide behind, look through etc. I struggled for a long time to pick the right text to use but two days before the deadline I picked Arash the Archer poem by Siavash Kasrai on a whim because of my love for it’s words but I didn’t know how far this would go.
It felt too mainstream but I said fuck it and proceeded to write in my terrible Nasta’liq calligraphy every word of the poem on over 1000 handmade cubes in Persian and English. These cubes were then woven into red yarn and white thread to create a carpet. Over 500 cubes have been woven so far and the project is still on going.
Prior to my carpet plan I had tried creating X’ trees for the poem but faced technical difficulties and with a day to go I decided to make a carpet. It was late in the evening and stores around were closed or didn’t have rope so I had to use what I had and as the carpet grew bigger I knew what I had to call it.
After working on the project manically for 48 hours I sat down to use words to describe my first ever installation and suddenly became aware of how my manifestation in my letter to my grandfather had come true.
“Salute, O Last morn! Farewell, O Dawn! For it’s your last sight of Arash. I swear to true morn! I swear to the veiled sun, the pure-eyed, the love-raining! Arash his life in the arrow shall fly, And fast he shall fall. The earth knows this, so do the heavens, That my flesh is flawless and pure my soul. Not a trick, nor a charm in my work dwells; No fear in my mind, nor dread in my heart’s lair.” He stopped then and said no word awhile. Breaths in chests were restless. “Before me Death, Wearing a fearsome mask lumbers forth. At each dreadful step, Bloodily he eyes me up. On the vultures’ wings he hangs over me, He lingers and looms ahead; And deadly cold laughs at me; There resounds in the mounts and vales, A baneful sneer he yells at me, He then claims it back anew. My heart loathes Death; For the evil Death is flesh-consuming. Yet, once the life’s soul is dimmed by pains; When good and evil are at war; It is sweet to go into the mouth of death. It is all that freedom shall want. An excerpt from Arash the Archer
Sahba is an Iranian multidisciplinary artist. With a background in literature and linguistics, her current projects focus on eastern magical practices translated into a modern setting.
She can be found on Instagram at @sacrileged_