25 JULY 2022 /
WHERE THE ROOTS ARE – A story about Emigration, People and the Trees of Life by NIGEN EHTASABIAN /
This was shown in the “The Forest Collective Art Show”, NeMe Art Center, Limassol, Cyprus during 25 Feb – 12 March 2022.
People are like trees, they spread their roots into the ground; when they are younger, it’s easier to relocate, but as older as they get, the roots go deeper into the ground, tie them with other trees and attach stronger to the place.
They also adapt with the environment, grow their branches through the light and nest birds and other small creatures in them, and become a part of the environment they are in.
That space actually shapes them into what they become at first place, and then it all gets more difficult to move to another place.
They say “we are human, we are not trees, so we can go wherever we want.”
It’s true, we can, but the older we get, in order to relocate, we would lose more roots, and have more difficulty to find a space that fits our already shaped figure/life.
On the other hand, we can root into meanings, into ideas, then we will become less attached to the ground.
The journey of life becomes our home, and our growth, and experiences become our ground. We embed/settle into our ideas of life.
The birds in the image are the birds from the Mantiq-al-Tair of the Sufi Attar; about the journey of life towards the light and growth; in order to have a more meaningful life.
The story is about the journey which birds take in order to find Simurgh God/ Ruler/Light (Meaning of life). They strive to traverse seven valleys: quest, love, gnosis, contentment, unity, God, wonder, and poverty.
Finally, only thirty birds reach the abode of the Simurgh, and there, they see Simurgh as none other than themselves, who could get to the highest place.
We all might fly in the same direction, but each of us has their own limitation, understanding and strength; So as long as this journey is what gives meaning to our life, we would never be lost.
NIGEN EHTASABIAN LICHTY (Neginete) is an Interdisciplinary artist, and illustrator with experiences in curating, writing and animation.
Recently she has exhibited in the International Techspressionism exhibition “Digital & Beyond” at the Southampton Arts Center, New York and participated as a jury in the International Digital Media and Art Association Exhibition (IDMAA) art show at Winona State University Campus, Minnesota, USA.
She has illustrated more than 35 picture books for children and adults, published in Iran, Italy, Germany, India, China, Taiwan, Canada, and Turkey; and has been an independent sticker‐based street artist since 2015, and also several of her mural and urban designs can still be found in Tehran.
NIGEN EHTASABIAN LICHTY has participated in the group Inter-cultural collaborative new media art projects “IRUS art” and “My Night/Your Day” between Iranian and American artists and led the Iranian teams through several collaborative exhibitions in the USA and Canada.
Images & video credit: Negin Ehtesabian