1. 33 seeds
33 seeds (2022) is a body of work in ceramic, sound and video, using the emblem of Esphand (a plant also known as ‘wild rue’) to explore ideas around dreams, gestation and world-weaving.
Esphand is a popular plant in Iranian culture that is often burnt in conjunction with chants that call upon 33 seeds to protect against The Evil Eye. Esphand is considered both medicine and hallucinogen, theorised as the magical entheogenic haoma in ancient Zoroastrian texts and soma in Indo-Iranian texts.
Within 33 seeds, Esphand is a potent symbols of multiplicity: of existing and not existing, blending the collective and the individual. In the West, where these states are treated as contradictions, Esphand is considered a noxious weed, invasive and difficult to uproot in overgrazed areas. During droughts, the plant is said to poison livestock, reducing fertility and cause miscarriages. At once protecting, preserving, and paralysing. The project uses Esphand’s invasive and mystical qualities to connect me, my mother and my sister (who feature in the video portion of the work) to different times, places and peoples, drawing from archival evidence, folklore and familial history. Stalks of Esphand sprout across the work in a refusal of the states that more often atomise us, weaving prickly plant lines through and across generations, into the generative worlds of dreaming.
33 seeds was shown at VOLT Gallery, Eastbourne 2022-23. The video portion of 33 seeds was made in collaboration with sound designer William Aikman and director of photography Jess Holdengarde; and with many thanks to Sam Wood for loaning me a beautiful dress. The project is made with support and care of Hamideh Heydari, Sara Heydari-Waite, Grace Woodcock, Molly Mae Whawell, Molly Farrell and Thom Querns.