Art in the Community presents “Lost Gardens,” an exhibition by Mehran Modarres-Sadeghi.
Mehran Modarres-Sadeghi (b. Isfahan, Iran) is an Iranian-Canadian interdisciplinary artist based in Vancouver, BC. She received an MFA in Visual Arts from Emily Carr University of Art + Design (2017) and
a BFA from the University of British Columbia (2007). She also holds a BSc in Physics from the Isfahan University of Technology, Iran. Her current practice mainly engages with drawing and textile sculpture, although she has worked in various media such as photography, painting, and installation. Modarres-Sadeghi’s works investigate the socio-cultural implications of hybridity as they relate to interethnic exchange and the globalizing process of travel and translation. Her works are autoethnographic, reflecting her lived experience in Iran and Canada.
She has exhibited her work in several solo and group exhibitions, participated in residency programs, and offered workshops in various art galleries. Her recent solo exhibitions include Thread at Sunshine Coast Arts Council’s Doris Crowston Gallery (2020), TRACING SHADOWS at Gallery 1515 (2021), and Ma Miaeem va Miravim (We Come and Go) at North Vancouver District Library’s Gallery (2022). Her group exhibitions include Centre A, Spring Exhibition (2017), North Van Art, 50 (2019), and the most recent, Massy Arts Society, A Wish to Voice (2022-23). Her next exhibitions will be a solo show, Lost Gardens, at the North Vancouver District Foyer Gallery in the fall of 2023, a group show, so are we to the land, at CityScape Art Gallery in the spring of 2024, and a solo show, Safar (A Journey) at Gibsons Public Art Gallery in the fall of 2024. Modarres-Sadeghi was featured in a CBC radio interview by Sheryl MacKay, host of North by Northwest (2020), ECU News (2020), and La Source Forum of Diversity (2022).
Modarres-Sadeghi respectfully acknowledges that she lives and works on the traditional unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səlílw̓ ətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations known as Vancouver, BC.
Lost Gardens is a series of drawings which explores the ecological, social, and cultural significance of native plants in British Columbia and their relation to settler colonialism. It also investigates how learning about these plants helps strengthen our connections to the land by opening a window to our homeland’s plants and cultural traditions.
Native plants help create healthier ecosystems with clean air and water and support wildlife. Traditionally, the indigenous peoples living in British Columbia possessed an intimate knowledge of the local plants and used a variety of plant species for food, medicine, and other purposes. In stark contrast, today, some of these plants are rare and seldom used following settlers’ colonization of the region.
Using graphite, I am developing a series of detailed drawings from the preserved, pressed plants archived at the herbarium collection at the UBC Beaty Museum to suggest the loss of the plants and their culture. I am particularly interested in drawing from wild roses, which resemble the national flower of my home country, Iran, Damask roses, and rare plants, such as tiger lilies, from the staples of West Coast botanicals.
I continued my research by collecting, pressing, and drawing native plants I found during nature walks. Many of the plants reminded me of similar plants common in my home country, Iran, a process which helps create a closer connection with the land and a sense of home and belonging.
Lost Gardens is evolving from three artist residencies I undertook at Coppermoss in Tuwanek, Sechelt, British Columbia, in 2018, 2019, and 2022.