The Whirling Dervish

I cannot remember if I found my father’s calligraphy note book first, or got introduced to Persian poetry by my grandmother. I might have even discovered love by that time. It all happened when I was roughly twelve years old in Iran, the order in which it happened is fuzzy, but I do remember feeling the longing, yearning to find the beloved, and knowing that there was more to my life than what was visible to the naked eye. And so began my quest and journey…

The written word, in various forms and embodiments, has been my ever present companion on this path. Along the way, it has bonded with pastels, with wood engravings, photography, and mirror and glass etchings.

Rooted in Sufism, inspired by the poetry of Rumi, Hafez and contemporary poets such as Sohrab Sepehri, I use mixed media and acrylics to make visible the invisible. Using texture, layers and colours, while engaging in dialogue with Persian music and poetry, I aim to depict the ebbs and flows of life, our ongoing quest for meaning, and our longing for ‘safa’ and transcendence. You will be able to read, hear, and feel each piece.

Words find their way in layers, hidden among shapes and colours, in the form of repetitious sounds, distorted text, requiring a deep gaze to be deciphered. The goal, regardless of the medium, is to enter a zone, that space of vastness wherein creativity lies, wherein no boundaries exist, where everything flows in unity. The goal is to tap into that void, into that light, where unity beckons. The goal is for us to meet in that space, and to dance to the music together. I hope you can join me on this journey.

Media Coverage

Definition of NikNaz

My given name: NikNaz. In farsi two adjectives, one noun. Nik: in farsi “good“, gender free, bending towards masculine, ease of pronunciation allows it to cross geographic borders. Naz: in farsi “coy“, feminine, does not cross geographic borders as easily. NikNaz, an equal partnership, lives in the contrajuncture of the the good in Nik and the coy in Naz, the feminine in Naz and the masculine in Nik. It holds the tension between the two, and lives them in unity.


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