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galerie antoine ertaskiran in Montreal showcases the work by Sayeh Sarfaraz
Installation view of the exhibition at galerie antoine ertaskiran in Montreal.

MONTREAL.- Since 2010, Sayeh Sarfaraz, an artist of Iranian descent, has had eight solo exhibitions in France, Germany, New York and Quebec. She has won numerous awards and is the recipient of five research grants. In her first solo exhibition at galerie antoine ertaskiran, Sarfaraz is presenting a large installation in which toys, drawings and projection serve as a somewhat naïve pictorial language, evoking both her personal history and the political conflict raging in the Middle East. This installation speaks of contemporary art's involvement in social and political issues.

The title of the exhibition, mémoire d'éléphant (memory of an elephant), is a direct reference to the collective memory of the people scarred by violence and dictatorships. Each work is a testament, a witness to the political upheaval. The accumulation of small objects, the repeated use of Persian writing, the miniaturization of everyday life, echoing ancestral Persian traditions: for Sayeh Sarfaraz, they are all ways of interpreting the oppression and suffering endured by the people of that region. Even if the family home seems to be a safe haven, the outside world remains increasingly dangerous.

By subverting children's games—an electric train running in reverse, doll house doors leading to a prison, paper garlands composed of guns and soldiers, Lego figurines and marshmallows instead of barbed wire—the artist uses a child's dream world to present a sad and harsh reality that remains universal and recognizable. The horror in question is so unspeakable and overwhelming, the miniaturization and aesthetic license employed by Sarfaraz are meant to make the exhibition palatable.

Between dream and nightmare, game and reality, voyeurism and surveillance, the traces are mangled. The viewer, who must either kneel or peek to discern the dramatic, still scenes, is also being observed, becoming a new player in this collective, who must now in turn transmit and testify.

Born in Shiraz, the cultural capital of Iran, Sayeh Sarfaraz immigrated to Quebec and has lived in Montreal since 2007, the year she began her artistic career with several group shows. galerie antoine ertaskiran is proud to present the work of Sayeh. The quality of the work, the introspection and research implicit in its creation make this the model for young, emerging artists. Her art has been the subject of numerous articles and news reports (Radar, Radio Canada, Cambridge Time, Cyberpresse, Hot off the Virtual Press, Arthur press, Montreal Mirror, Ratsdeville). Sayeh Sarfaraz was a resident at the Darling Foundry in Montreal in 2011.

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galerie antoine ertaskiran in Montreal showcases the work by Sayeh Sarfaraz

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