A Zarih, a latticework burial chamber with a large cubical or rectangular metal structure, encloses a grave in a mosque or Islamic shrine. The intimate haptic experience and the visual aesthetic pleasure of Zarih call the inner journey of the pilgrim. Touching Zarih is a critical aspect of religious rituals through which pilgrims anticipate fulfilling their spiritual and materialistic wishes. Zarih, as a symbolic spiritual object, is believed to interconnect the body as the materiality of the self to the spiritual experience.
In Zarih, I perceive the concept of touch as the commencement of exploring inside that accelerates a deeper understanding of oneself. By touching Zarih, you feel something stirs deep down inside your soul. Nevertheless, it prevents you from reaching the object of your desire. As a Shiʿite Islam visual element, Zarih symbolizes Imam's sacred essence restricted by the sacred distance. It implies that it is not about touching a sacred essence presented by a figure, but it is about you touching yourself as the essence of the universe. What happens in the ritual is nothing outside a person; it is a journey inside. Zarih, though posing an obstacle, is of greater importance than the abstract reality inside it. It is the object that provides a moment to touch yourself.
A Series of Self-Portraits
No. 8- Of a Series of Self-portraits (the bra)
Jan 2019 — Jan 2020