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There Is Always a Distance

Artist Blog by Maryam Firuzi

For several years I have been trying to answer others why I don’t migrate. In the beginning, I had countless answers but now I have nothing left to say in response except a hidden cry within a smile. The concepts of loving the homeland, dependence on the soil, and staying to build and develop the motherland have become so abstract that they are less likely to be the starting point for conversation, especially in the era when artists, writers, and intellectuals of my country either live outside Iran or die gradually in their silence and isolation.

In November 2021, I came to Paris for the exhibition of my works in Paris Photo, and during those ten days, with the same thoughts and questions, I encountered migrated or exiled artists from various countries who had chosen the second option between being censored in their homeland or creating freely in France. As an artist who has chosen to stay in her homeland and create under the blade of censorship, some questions arose in my mind: How can you carry your heritage and bring it to another land? What pleasure is there in this unlimited freedom for expression and creation? Where does the past of an artist reflect his or her present? Is art a universal language regardless of language, race, and nationality? Does the suffering of being in exile make the artist more creative?

For more than a hundred years, Paris has been the first destination for Iranian artists and writers to immigrate. Many literary and artistic figures from Iran and the Middle East have been buried in Paris, and the last one was just last week. Therefore, the life of immigrant artists is associated with me more than anywhere else in Paris. In this series of photos, I have tried to metaphorically reconstruct the studio of immigrant or exiled artists in the street to find a home for these landless artists. Although this home is invisible in the pictures, isn’t it possible for the artist to turn their art into their land?

This series is unfinished and I hope to continue it in the future.

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