(The installation consists of a 10m long scroll on a table which is commplementd by 20 hung stained sugar bags above it.)


Seven years ago, I bought a number of used and empty sugarcane bags in the Grand Bazaar of Tehran without any specific plan. I bought them from a small trader who imported sugar from India to Iran. In 2018, I took them with me to India where I lived, studied and worked for a while. I returned the bags to Iran without touching them. I looked at the stains on the bags and remembered the journey. In my return to homeland, I merged my tales of travel and return. This scroll is the product of that amalgamation. It is a fiction story that is the product of my personal life experiences. It is unfaithful to myths, religions, rituals, and morals of a given culture. The story not only is an imaginative fantasy but also the mind’s wander through the world of nonsense expressions. This scroll tells the story of familiar yet strange spirits that are trapped in their bodies and objects that are trapped in geographical borders that are trapped in history, and the history that is trapped in books, and books that are trapped in minds, and minds that are trapped in cages. 
In this illustrated scroll, a parrot narrates a tale; an open adaptation of the stains registered on the sugar bags. The scroll is influenced by The Parrot Tales (Tooti nameh) by the Persian writer, Ziya’ al-Din Nakhshabi (14th Century) which is a Persian book consisting of 25 stories inspired by an Indian book with the same title (Socaspati in Sanskrit) written in 12th Century. In Iran and India, the parrot tells the story of adventurous stories with its sweet tongue; stories as sweet as sugar and as bitter as poison. This paradox, reminds me of my ancestral city. It is a small city in northern Iran where sugarcane cultivation is common. The name Siah shekar (black sugar) is derived from the local name given to non-industrial products of sugarcane stalks, which is called raw sugar outside of Iran, red sugar in most parts of Iran, and Kachi Kahand in India. This paradoxical phrase expresses the dangers, harms and bitterness of the sweet trade of sugar from the past to the present; a story about the reproduction of sugar grains from Guilan to Maharashtra and from Kerala to Khuzestan.
In the famous books of Indian Sanskrit and glorious Persian literature, there are several stories that delicately describe the benefits and dangers of traveling and settling down, migration and return. However, for the Middle Eastern man, ‘dignity’ and ‘homeland’ make an open-ended tragic comedy. They are a comedy because they seems trivial. And they are a tragedy as they are the main source of all crisis in his life. In Asia and the Middle East, according to personal beliefs as well as cultural and social customs, man sees his inevitable destiny in a temporary relationship with his dignity and his homeland and considers the situation acceptable, but he has neither the intuition to accept, nor the ability to stay, nor the will to construct! He is punished at home and has no place in a foreign land, so he becomes confused and isolated and jokes about his own fate and the fate of others. He often seeks advice to calm his restless soul. He does not know what to do with his hopes and desires, with his home or homeland. Constantly, he feels at crossroads, staying or going, returning or settling! In the meantime, every decision becomes absurd or destroys the mind or crushes the heart. Doubts become barriers between inside and outside. He loses his dignity at home and moves away from his ‘so-called’ backward homeland, and from this point on, becomes a stranger in his home and everywhere. He has no history, no geography, no language, no head, no order, his multiple faces are distorted, his behavior is not in accordance with his innate values, he does everything and does not finish anything, he is imperfect and strange. 
This strange man is a refugee. He always takes refuge from one situation to another, from one moment to another, from one person to another, and from one city to another. These continuous and fruitless
migrations keep him in a state of deprivation and homelessness. His heart is not pure with his destiny and he leaves his homeland and returns to it many times in his imagination. All his life, he longs for peace but instead, wanders in bewilderment, and as Abolhassan Kharghani said, “he is like a bird that leaves his nest in search of seeds, but finds no seeds, and does not know the way back to its nest.” On the one hand, human kind’s historical restlessness and on the other, the sufferings caused by a defined nationality makes him bitter. He is constantly distracted and hence, lacks a desirable 
connection to his homeland. “A parrot stops him from leaving” and tells him why he should not leave his home; that why he should reconsider the necessity of leaving. The parrot warns him that 
emigrating and leaving home behind is a betrayal of the family, and returning–a return to the centre of misery– is a betrayal of oneself. The parrot knows the way, but he is both scattered and talkative, and his tongue is ambiguous, so his advice is careless and useless, and leaves the man’s mind s
cattered and stunned. This Eastern day dreamer has no foot on the earth and ascends the world in the heavens. He changes the meaning of simple concepts and never knows for sure that whether the homeland is the cause of his misery and wrath or the source of his inspirations and enlightenments.


Tales of a Stateless Parrot 2022