Sara Rahanjam visits an old theme in her work. She questions, studies and explores the role of women in society. More plainly put, Sara tells us what it feels like for a girl.
In the series titled Blue Skies, Sara presents us with her militant characters. All in Hijab, the Iranian uniform worn in the “outside” life. These almost life-size characters are made of porcelain, some painted with delicate floral blooms. And yet in their fragility, they bear gas masks in polished bronze. They all stand up right – at the ready. The clenched fists and body language tell us that despite the “handle with care” exterior, she is a force to be reckoned with. Persevering endurance is her game.
What I believe makes her porcelain army endearing is that, in their game of persevering endurance, they still believe in being fabulous. This is the tale of the girls of Tehran, retold in porcelain and bronze. Some hold bejewelled mirrors to their faces, some have diamant gas masks. War or no war, they will still have their fun.
In her plate series, juxtaposing beautiful legs made out of bronze with nostalgic porcelain plates, Sara makes us question both the cliché of the nurturing, loving housewife-mother, always on hand to serve food on comforting china plates versus the other clichéd free-love, fun-loving woman with gorgeous legs and bubbly attitude. Both types are trapped in their own clichés. Neither the plates fit with the legs, nor the legs with the plates. In this beautiful series, Sara forces us to think of how society forces women into one type or another. A fun-loving sexy wife mother almost seems impossible.
Whilst I love these series, my personal favourite is her series titled “Are there any seats for me?!”. In this series she takes us down the rabbit holes and switches on all the lights.
The pieces are small, you have to get close and personal. Literally. She uses girly materials, lace velvet, small dolls. It’s a lovely world she creates. Its all so cute and intentionally familiar.
But despite the femininity of her miniature worlds, the little female figures look worryingly displaced. They are all actually trapped or seem suspended. The unfairness of it all is tear-jerking, they can see their chairs, but they can never sit.
Sara was born in 1984 in Lahijan Iran. She now lives and works in Tehran.