Yeki Bood, Yeki Nabood

‘Yeki Bood, Yeki Nabood’ means ‘one was there, one was absent’ in Farsi. It’s a phrase used to begin a story, similar to ‘once upon a time’.

This solo exhibition by Hootan Heydari explores the compulsion to return to the past. In the case of the migrant, returning to the past may be an unconscious attempt to ‘work through’ trauma. Returning to the past can also be an act of resistance against historical and cultural oblivion. Yet memory is slippery. Repeated exposure to images of the past blur and conflate with the artist’s personal memory.

Born in Tehran, Heydari and his family left Iran after the 1979 Islamic revolution. Evoking Iran in 1979, ‘Yeki Bood, Yeki Nabood’ includes images of the Islamic revolution and materials such as plaster and gold leaf. Plaster is symbolic of the domestic and of healing broken bones, yet it also renders whatever it touches static and immobile. Gold gestures to consumerism and economic inequity.

Ideas of sound and recording are also important aspects of the exhibition. Leading up to the revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini’s sermons were disseminated through overdubbed cassette tapes. The artist’s father was also a popular musician and composer.

‘Yeki Bood, Yeki Nabood’ is presented in association with the Human Rights Arts and Film Festival 2022.

2 Apr - 29 May