Iranian-born artist Bahar Behbahani talks about the poetry and politics she discovered in her research of Persian gardens—the subject of her solo exhibition at the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College.
The artist came to the United States for the first time in 2002, to show her paintings in a traveling diplomatic exhibition. Since then, she made her way to New York and became an American citizen. Considering the cultural and political differences—not to mention the six thousand miles that lie between Tehran and the city she now calls home—it might not surprise you to learn that Bahar Behbahani’s paintings and videos explore memory and loss. Listen to our conversation to learn about the history, form and meaning of the legendary Persian garden. Find out how a classic green space renowned for its reflective pools and lush vegetation became entangled with American espionage and a political coup in Iran.
Highly relevant considering the mounting intensity of today’s global tensions, the hidden agendas and coded behaviors exposed in Bahar Behbahani’s work might well be the blueprint for a new political barrier erected this week: the executive order of a restrictive, anti-Muslim United States immigration policy.
Sound Editor: Guney Ozsan | Sound Effects: Bahar Behbahani, Visiting you in summer, 2015 | Photography courtesy Bahar Behbahani, and Hood Museum of Art, Darmouth College | Episode edited from Skype conversation recorded 6 Jan 2017