Everlasting Vestige by Baran Ataei Ardestani





MEDIUM: Video, Photography

During my first semester, I made the first two pieces of this work: sculptural photo installation and video art. I designed a frame that functions like pages and has a confrontation with the past through a trilogy of confrontations. A shadow replaced my intentional absence, symbolizing the disconnection within families. However, a faint shadow of me remains to demonstrate isolation and the ongoing journey to rediscover my inner peace. The piece invites viewers to peel back these layers to explore the depth of emotion and meaning contained within the work.

The video is a visual narrative wherein I submerged myself in a haunting flow of red ink, an allegory for the indelible mark this trauma had left on my mind. Attempting to wash it from my body forms shock and anxiety, leading to frustration and eventually becoming exhausting and accepting the fact that I would not be able to wash it away ever. This attempt makes a bridge between me and the viewer, highlighting the intertwining of human experience and reminding them of a moment in their own life when they had the same endless effort.

Experiencing childhood abuse in the family context, led me to have an assortment of antithetical feelings such as love and pain toward my own family. As a visual artist and survivor of sexual assault, I try to discuss and unpack my emotional struggles by putting myself as a subject and object to questioning my relationship with my parents and my own identity.

Utilizing my own personal experiences with childhood abuse in the family context, I navigate the lasting effects of trauma in my artwork. I delve into the parallels between the multi-sensory nature of harassment, and assault, and the diverse expressions of art to understand how art-making aids in recovering from the damage inflicted by trauma.

This project consists of different sets of works, in which each artwork has its own characteristics but all unified in a central theme of confronting buried emotions within the cyclical nature of memory. The common visual elements in my work are red ink, obscured images, and transparent items. These elements collectively symbolize power against the aggressor and find a sense of inner peace. Transparent objects, in particular, play a crucial role through elaborate layering and mirroring the complex nature of my experiences. Each layer refers to a different aspect of my journey that invites viewers to peel back these layers and explore the depth of emotion and meaning within the work.