Sara Madandar : Let Us Believe In…
December 9, 2020 – January 22, 2021
Virtual Opening: December 1, 11am – 5pm
Sara Madandar | Gryder gallery
“Let us Believe In…” is a collection of life-size portraits depicting a strong, diverse group of women. Starting with photographic prints on canvas, I paint, collage, write, spray, and sew onto their portraits. Much of my work has deployed the aesthetics of language, clothing, and bodies to tell narratives of my own experiences as an Iranian woman migrating to the United States. In this series, I tell the stories of the women behind each portrait, letting their own narratives guide the techniques and materials used in each painting.
While they stand in separate portraits, the women of “Let us Believe In…” are not alone: they are connected through a social geography. All are from or have lived in New Orleans. This spatial connection is represented by a common thread woven through the paintings: the use of plaid patterns, which recall the latitude and longitude lines on a map. In each portrait, you will find a connection between the woman, the place, and the artist.
The title of this series looks back to an earlier collection of mine, “Let Us Believe in the Beginning of the Cold Season”—in fact, also the title of Forough Farrokhzad’s last book. As I painted these portraits, we all faced a tragic cold season ahead. The coming winter brought on the worst moments of the global pandemic that has kept us apart from the ones we love. By asking each woman to bring something of their own into their portraits, I wanted to overcome the distance the pandemic has wedged between us. By coming together in creating these paintings, we deconstructed the idea of social distancing. No, we are not socially distancing—we are only physically distancing—and that spatial separation is something love can easily overcome.
As you look at the portraits of these wonderfully strong women, this is what I ask of you: let us, together, believe in the end of this cold, dark season…
Sarah Madandar is an Iranian multi-disciplinary artist based in New Orleans. She received my MFA from the University of Texas at Austin and my BA in painting from the Azad University of Art and Architecture in Tehran. Through a range of media such as painting, video, installation, and performance—she explores migration and the human experience of living in between cultures. My work uses the aesthetics of language, clothing, and bodies to study the complexities of cross-cultural experiences from a unique perspective.