Malekeh Nayiny‘s cosmopolitan background is reflected in the work she makes, which shows the sort of cross-cultural influences typical of the ‚esperanto‘ nature of today‘s contemporary art. However, she claims a strong Iranian identity and cultural allegiance. Nayiny‘s work draws on Persian mythology and poetry.
Her projects include Updating a Family Album, perhaps also her best known work, consisting of highly personal, vintage family portraits refashioned into strangely modern photographs of which Nayiny writes: “By the use of anachronisms such as collaging modern stamps on the clothes of some of my ancestors, and by inventing backgrounds that are obviously out of context with them, my aim was to see them in a new light and to transplant them into a different time, a different place”.
Past Residue, are a series of C-prints depicting the remnants of pre-revolutionary advertisements featuring women. All are more carefree and modern than their contemporary counterparts. Of this project Nayiny states: “There always remains a trace and a remnant of what has happened before even if that was an idea as abstract as self image. The imagery in this new series springs from demolition sites with the superimposition of advertisements, magazine covers and mass media from my life before the Revolution in Iran, when women were encouraged to be liberated and westernized.Then came the Revolution.This collective memory from the past cannot be totally erased, however hard the demolition process is at work.”