Salam! Chetori? Hi! How are you?
Words I heard every time I saw my friend, Gilda Mavaddat when I lived in Los Angeles. Gilda was my entre' into the large Iranian-American community in LA and she was a wonderful ambassador to that world. The thing I remember most about her was her smile. She smiled all the time. She loved to laugh and she made me laugh...a lot! Oftentimes with her unique take on all things American. She hadn't been in this country too long and was totally perplexed as to how she could be out of money when she had checks left. Seriously. Yes, she made me laugh.
When I moved to Colorado Springs after my first marriage ended in 2001, I met a young Iranian man who became my friend. Mehrdad and I met the week after September 11th and I recall his hesitancy in even telling me he was Iranian, because at that moment he was feeling the push-back toward all things Muslim. He introduced me to a wonderful senior-citizen named Ali, who owned a deli in the Springs, but who would whip up unbelievable Iranian dishes in the back room. I fell in love with Saffron Rice and anything with a Farci name.
The fabric collage piece I am showing you here was commissioned by Mehrdad. I had completely forgotten about it and wasn't sure I even had a picture of it until earlier today. I was very happy to find it in my photo archives. The thing I recall most about doing this pieces, was when he gave me the images to use I couldn't believe how vibrant the colors were. The pictures that I had seen of Iran were mostly from the news and mostly from Tehran. Concrete. Gray. The pictures he selected for this piece were of the Iran he remembered and missed. Green valleys. Flowers as far as the eye could see. A little girl in a bright dress. I made this piece for him and I gave it the name "The Colors of Home." He loved it. (He laughed at me though because the words at the bottom-which I don't even remember what they were-were backwards.) Oh well. He got the overall feeling of the piece and he was happy. He showed it to everybody.
Gilda and Mehrdad have been on my mind the last few days as I witness what is going on in the country of their birth. I know they are glued to their computers and TV's and are fearful for family left behind. I hope two things for them. One is that Gilda figured out a checking account and the other is that the piece of my art that hangs in Mehrdad's home has brought him some comfort during this time. And I hope one day I will meet up with them again and see them smile...Salam! Chetori?