Gates series

“Gates” is a series of three monoprints drawing on Muradi’s poem of the same name, which explores themes of immigration and identity. The prints are rendered in a style reminiscent of classical illuminated manuscripts in Persian. The lines play with the Farsi/Dari diacritical marks “zabar,” [above] “zeyr,” [below] and “peysh,” [before] which denote short vowel sounds corresponding to “ah,” “eh,” and “oh.” The Farsi/Dari alphabet (based on the Arabic script) is an Abjad, or an alphabet where not all vowel sounds are represented in writing, but only long vowels and diphthongs. One often only encounters these diacritics in children’s books and language learning material to guide the learner in pronunciation. As artists born into Dari, losing our mother tongue through forced migration, learning English as a new language, and re-encountering Dari as adults via English in the US, we were interested in ideas of language ghosted by war and loss, unrepresented sounds, and the labor of learning and retaining a language, including one’s native tongue.