Alena Azadeh - Chasing Mirrors: Portraits of the Unseen
Chasing Mirrors: Portraits of the Unseen was the second installation of the project which ran at the National Portrait Gallery, in Bristol, UK 14 October 2010 – 10 January 2011. Artist Alinah Azadeh collaborated with young people in community groups from West London via a series of creative workshops to produce the installation. They explored the Gallery's Collection and looked at issues around identity and cultural representation, to produce the installation ‘Chasing Mirrors: Portraits of the Unseen’ at the Gallery.
The installation moved away from representation through human image: the outer, familiar manifestation of identity. Instead, participants explored how portraits of the inner, ‘hidden' self could be created. Personal objects were wrapped with cloth, concealing them and making them a part of the collective piece. Text was integral as it is in traditional Islamic culture, in this case focusing on the names of the participants in Arabic, represented in the form of the 99 names of Allah.
(Photo: N.Calvocoressi, Courtesy: The National Portrait Gallery) Alinah Azadeh is a British-Iranian artist with a background in painting, new media and video. Since her MA in Media Arts Practice at Westminster University (2001), she has created installations that combine textile media with texts and networked technology. Collaboration and mass participation are central to her work, either with other practitioners or the audience itself. She works across art forms, using live and digital processes relying on intimate human interaction to create work that can be a device for mass participation. Active in Subud, her recent impetus to create has been inspired by experiences of cultural displacement, birth and bereavement.