Nasim Nasr

Since moving to Australian in 2009, Iranian-born artist Nasim Nasr has continued to explore her cultural identity within the changing forces of an increasingly global world.

Well known for her striking work Forty Pages in which she gradually, built up layers of stamps upon her face – referring to forty pages in a passport – Nasr’s places her body to be a point of interaction with these cultural and political processes, personalising the full effect for the viewer.

Discussing the process of using her body as a site to compile the passport stamps of the last decade of her life, Nasr states, “This gradual accumulation of stamps feels like layers upon my personal history, upon my passport photo, upon my face, its aggregation steadily evolving into an identity I no longer recognise, apart from the eyes—a transformation”.

“Each passport stamp, representing either the departure from or entering a country, is integral to one’s history of the difficulties of freedom of movement and disempowerment by country of birth and its life-boundaries. At every national border one is submissive and defenseless to officialdom. This is a potent control upon individual existence and independence, especially in the contemporary world of displacement and separation between East and West.”

Pattern and repetition is a recurring motif in Nasr’s work, reiterating and reenforcing the power of symbols and text, which increases with its proliferation. In her latest work for ‘The Home, The Habit’, Nasr turns her focus to the repetition of cultural symbols, using her body as a site of engagement and personal interaction with them. Striking, bold works, once again, they do not shirk from the strong cultural dialogues they stir.

In both Forty Pages  and ‘The Home, The Habit’ her self-portraits play with the politics of identity in their mimicking of a passport photograph format. By manipulating and layering the photographs, Nasr flips the power dynamic, interrogating this familiar composition, asking the viewer to evaluate the official processes of identification, and question the authority of officialdom in typifying personal identity.

Deeply personal in her own embodiment of these processes, Nasr’s works create an emotive space of engagement for viewers to consider the universal experience of identity in the global crossing of cultures and people.

31 May – 24 June 2017
Greenaway Art Gallery | GAGPROJECTS, SA

Courtesy the artist and Greenaway Art Gallery | GAGPROJECTS, SA.

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